Swissport employees based at Stansted airports have voted to take industrial action over the Easter weekend in a dispute over pay and working patterns.
The decision for strike action comes after a 90-day consultation period, with employees at trade union GMB. The change includes employees spreading their contractual hours over a five-day week rather than a four-day week.
GMB has estimated that these shift changes amount to a pay cut of up £1,000 a year per employee. The union also said the changes will require the baggage handlers to travel to work an additional 13 times a year incurring additional transport and childcare costs.
Richard Prince, general manager at Swissport Stansted, said: “Swissport wants to avoid redundancies. The proposed changes to working patterns will achieve a proportion of the necessary savings we need to make to offset our decline in revenue and it means we will avoid job losses.
“We are not cutting peoples’ pay. We are not increasing the amount of hours they work. We are asking people to spread their contractual hours over a five-day week and not a four-day week. We are keeping people in jobs.”
Gary Pearce, organiser at GMB, added: “Up to now the organisation has been intent on imposing these changes without agreement and this is completely unacceptable as this vote shows.
“GMB has offered several alternative shift patterns and working arrangements, but Swissport refuses to listen so far. I have notified Swissport of the ballot result and I have asked[it] for more talks to try to avert action over these pay cuts.
“Unless there are urgent talks and a settlement, this vote for action will result in disruption over the Easter bank holiday weekend. The travelling public need to be aware that it has been this aggressive move by Swissport to cut our members’ pay at a time of high inflation that has led to this strike vote.”
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