No more Christmas baggage handler strikes at Stansted Airport after new pay deal offered

PUBLISHED: 09:53 21 December 2016 | UPDATED: 09:57 21 December 2016

Baggage handlers at Stansted Airport are no longer going to strike on December 23 and 24.

Baggage handlers at Stansted Airport are no longer going to strike on December 23 and 24.

Archant

Potentially disruptive Christmas strikes at Stansted Airport have been stopped after talks this week (December 20).

Swissport, a baggage handler at many major airports also including Heathrow and Gatwick, was in a pay dispute with workers from the union Unite, who planned to walk out in 18 airports on December 23 and 24.

Around 1,500 workers, including baggage handlers, check-in staff and ground crew, would have been included in the strike.

It might have meant passengers would only be able to bring hand luggage onto the planes.

However, a new deal offered in the talk on Tuesday, which was mediated by ACAS, has been accepted by Unite stewards and it will now be proposed to their members.

Swissport originally offered to give ACAS a final word in the dispute, in exchange for Unite calling off the action – but this was rendered redundant when the new offer was accepted.

Unite general secretary Len McCluskey said: “That the strike is called off is obviously good news for Unite members and very welcome news for passengers.

“No worker likes taking strike action but often the threat of it is the only way to make headway in very frustrating circumstances.

“All along we have said that these workers have a powerful case. They are employed on poverty pay rates – this union says that this is not good enough and so we are determined to win them a better deal.

“That is what these excellent stewards have made headway on today.”

He also spoke about Unite’s ongoing living wage dispute with British Airways, which will see workers for the mixed fleet strike on Christmas day and Boxing day: “I call upon British Airways to pay heed.

“This union is clearly open to reasonable negotiations.

“We sincerely hope you take a leaf out of Swissport’s book and meet our members halfway on what is also a very just cause, the call for a living wage and equality for these young workers.”

Swissport has been contacted for comment.

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