Ground handlers at four of the UK’s biggest airports could go on strike in a dispute over pay.
Workers for Swissport at Gatwick, Heathrow, Manchester and Stansted have voted in favour of strike action, according to their union Unite which said that 94 per cent of employees backed industrial action.
Swissport clients include Ryanair at Stansted, Virgin and Emirates at Manchester, Virgin and British Airways at Gatwick, and Virgin at Heathrow. Unite represents around 1,000 Swissport employees including check-in staff and baggage handlers.
No dates have been set for any potential industrial action and Unite said it would holding an “urgent meeting” with Swissport on Wednesday (October 16) to discuss the dispute and try to find a solution without resorting to strikes.
Unite’s national officer Oliver Richardson said: “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.
“The dispute centres on the company's decision to freeze workers pay for eighteen months, from April 2012 through to October 2013, followed by a below inflation increase of just 2.5 per cent.
“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.”