Urgent talks to prevent airport worker strikes
Oct 15th, 2013 by elisa

Urgent talks to prevent strike action by baggage handlers and check-in staff at some of the UK’s busiest airports are to take place tomorrow.

Swissport workers based at Gatwick, Heathrow, Stansted and Manchester airports voted in favour of strike action in a dispute over pay. Unite the union said that 94% of workers balloted voted in favour of the action.

“In the light of this overwhelming mandate for action Swissport has requested talks which we are happy to attend so we can try to resolve this matter,” said Unite national officer Oliver Richardson.

“The dispute centres on the company’s decision to freeze workers pay for 18 months, from April 2012 through to October 2013, followed by a below inflation increase of just 2.5%.

“Our members are struggling to keep up with the rising cost of living and Unite believes Swissport is failing to recognise the contribution its staff are making to the success of the company.

“We hope that over the coming days we will be able to thrash out a deal with the company but this will depend on whether the company is prepared to move on from its current position on pay.”


Heathrow plans passenger price hike
Feb 15th, 2013 by elisa

Heathrow Airport has applied to the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) to increase charges by nearly £8 per passenger in order to fund a £3 billion investment programme.

If approved, the tariff charged to the airlines will gradually rise from the equivalent of £19.33 per passenger in 2012/13 to a maximum of £27.30 in 2018. The money will then be used to help fund the opening of the new Terminal 2 in 2014 and on improved check-in and baggage facilities, as well as the construction of new taxiways and stands so that the airport can accommodate the latest aircraft.

However, some of the airport’s largest airlines, including Virgin Atlantic and British Airways, are opposed to the price increases. 

A BA spokesperson said: “Heathrow Airport’s charges have already tripled over the past 11 years. The charges must be reduced significantly over the coming years, especially when the airport is cutting investment by around 25 per cent from next year onwards.

“Any investment plans between 2014 and 2019 should be targeted and efficient. We believe Heathrow Airport can make significant savings to its inefficient cost base while still investing £3 billion in improving the overall customer experience.”

Heathrow said it believed its plans would be beneficial to passengers and offer good value. It said: “Our investment will deliver a better journey for passengers, more efficient and reliable infrastructure for airlines, and additional jobs, trade and economic activity for the UK.”

The CAA will consider the application, and develop and consult on its own proposals. It will deliver its verdict on airport charges in January next year.

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