Members of the Unite trade union employed by Swissport at Stansted Airport have started the first of a series of strike actions over changes to scheduling and holiday allocation.
The company’s decision to impose roster changes from four days on, two days off to five days on, two days off without agreement will see ramp staff work 14 extra days with no extra pay, argued Unite.
During eight weeks of talks, the union attempted to resolve the long-running dispute however these broke down on last Friday when the company refused to negotiate a “fairer outcome”, said Unite.
Unite members voted for strike action by 94.4 per cent on a 90 per cent turnout.
Unite has given Swissport notice of seven days of industrial action, which started with a 24 hour walk out at 05:30.
Strikes will follow on May 23rd, 26th and June 2nd.
Paul Bouch, Unite regional officer, said: “Swissport has forced our members’ backs to the wall.
“After eight weeks of talks the company is still determined to press ahead with its unreasonable roster and holiday allocation changes.”
Swissport employs 150 baggage handler at the airport.
A statement from the company said: “Swissport is disappointed that the GMB trade union has decided to call industrial action.
“The company 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,” he added
“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.”