Holiday chaos as Stansted Airport baggage handlers to strike over Easter

Holiday chaos as Stansted Airport baggage handlers to strike over Easter weekendGetty

Passengers are being warned there could be flight chaos at Stansted over the Easter weekend as baggage handlers are set to strike in a row over pay.

The GMB union has said that 150 of its members employed by Swissport have voted for the action, claiming that shift changes would lead to wage cuts of up to £1,000.

According to the Telegraph, the GMB said the changes would also see baggage handlers travelling into work an extra 13 times a year, incurring additional transport and childcare costs.

Family holidays could be left severely disrupted, with the strikes being carried out on Good Friday, Easter Saturday and Easter Monday.

GMB said they had been trying to come to a compromise since January, but that Swissport "is intent on imposing the charges without agreement".

Gary Pearce, GMB Organiser said they had offered a number of alternative shift patterns, with no joy, adding: "Swissport claim they have lost work on the Ryanair contact at the airport. GMB baggage handlers have seen no evidence of this. Swissport also claim that they are losing money on the contract.

"GMB has asked to see the evidence to confirm this but Swissport have refused to comply leading members to question if what they are being told is true."

Meanwhile, a general strike in Spain on Friday will cause disruption to flights.

The Foreign Office is warning that the strike by Spain's two largest trade unions over austerity cuts and changes to labour laws will bring the country to a "near standstill", according to Travel Mole.

Spain's national carrier Iberia has cancelled more than 200 flights, including some services between London and Madrid, while Easyjet and Ryanair have both cancelled dozens of flights.

Travellers are advised to check with their tour operator or airline for updates.

Best bargain Easter escapes
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Holiday chaos as Stansted Airport baggage handlers to strike over Easter

Fancy an idyllic escape without having to travel too far? Four star hotel the runnymede-on-thames is offering families a huge saving of 35 per cent on mid-weeks stays throughout Easter. Set on the banks of the River Thames near historic Windsor, the hotel offers a whole host of family activities, like teen spa treatments, riverboat hire and plenty of board games to keep the kids entertained until bedtime. The Easter prices start from £262.50 per night instead of £409.50 for a family of four sharing a deluxe double room with an interconnecting twin room including breakfast for stays between 2 and 15 April 2012. Visit

Head to exotic Marrakech this Easter for a three-night stay at Riad Farnatchi and a tour of the city. You'll be driven in a 4x4 to the village of Imlil in the High Atlas and an English speaking guide will take you on a three-hour walk explaining everything about the local culture and history. There'll be a stop at a small house in a tiny Berber village for lunch before a walk back through the beautiful Ouirgan valley and Asni or going off track to see some more mountain villages. Riad Farnatchi's three-night break in Marrakech costs £608 per person including 10 per cent off your stay in a Superior Suite, airport transfers, evening canapés, a day trip to the Atlas Mountains and a half-day tour of Marrakech, plus dinner at the riad. Visit

Hit the slopes for less with Inghams at the French resort of Alpe d'Huez, which offers skiing for all abilities. You'll stay at the four-star Chalet Pregentil for seven nights from £499 per person instead of £679, saving you £180 per person. This includes breakfast, afternoon tea or coffee and four-course dinners. The rustic-style chalet is located in the resort centre and the skiing here is fabulous, with a wide range of red and blue runs and one of the longest black runs in the world! The price includes a seven-night stay, return flights from Gatwick and transfers for a trip departing on 24 March. Visit

Holiday at home at this Easter and experience the glorious countryside in Devon from £215 per person. Rural Retreats is offering a three-night stay at the magnificent Tawstock Castle from £1,715.30 based on eight people sharing, with a saving of £212.70. The Grade II listed bailey castle dates back to the 18th century and is set on a rounded hill top with fantastic panoramic views of Devon. The castle is located close to the Devonshire market town of Barnstaple and is surrounded by an acre of gardens that are enclosed by a bailey. Visit

Take the kids to Wales this Easter where the whole family can enjoy exciting activities with the Golden Egg 3 for 2 Escape at Celtic Manor in Gwent. A chocolate-themed extravaganza will take place and two lucky families will find a golden goose egg, winning them an upgrade at the resort. The Golden Egg 3 for 2 Escape starts from £110 per person per night with a third night free, available between 6 and 9 April. Visit

Head to the Indian Ocean and enjoy a seven-night half board stay at colonial-style hotel The Residence from £5,950 for a family of four. You'll also receive one free night, a 10 per cent early booking discount, free VIP cards entitling you to a bottle of Champagne on arrival, daily lunch, canapés delivered to your room each evening, 10 per cent off all drinks, up to 30 per cent off spa treatments and 10 per cent off babysitting. The price includes a stay in two Colonial Garden View Rooms, flights and private transfers. Visit

Explore the lively city of Dubrovnik while staying at the five-star Dubrovnik Sun Gardens on Croatia's Dalmatian coast. The resort has its own private beach, three pools and a collection of bars and restaurants. This spring it's offering a special Easter package including a stay in a luxurious one-bedroom garden view residence for up to three guests for 140 euros per night, free access to the resort's Spa by OCCO with reduced treatment prices and free entry to the Sports Centre with a 50 per cent discount on facilities and equipment usage. Visit

Discover the Italian region of Puglia on a five-night break at the chic Borgo San Marco. The 15th century masseria is set among 90 hectares of carob trees and vineyards and is located just a mile away from the sea. Feast on local dishes in the restaurant, relax in the large outdoor swimming pool and take in the fabulous rural setting in the bougainvillea-filled gardens. Real Holidays' five-night break in Puglia costs £699 (saving you £175) including flights from Stansted, car hire and bed and breakfast for a 5 April departure. Visit

Escape to the Greek Island of Rhodes and get 33 per cent off your holiday with Bargain Holidays Online via Travelzoo. For just £344 per person you'll stay in the luxury five-star Mitsis Rodos Village Hotel on an all-inclusive basis for seven nights. The deal includes return flights from London Stansted, plus activities at the resort, like tennis, beach soccer and volleyball. Departures are between 2 and 4 April. Book by 25 March. Visit

Looking for the perfect beach getaway? DialAFlight is offering a four-star seven-night break in Barbados from just £1,059. You'll stay at the Tamarind Cove by Elegant Hotels, which is set on an idyllic white-sand beach. The resort has four restaurants for you to dine in, a fabulous spa, gym and three swimming pools. The price includes a stay in a garden view room and flights from Gatwick for departures between 18 April and 27 June. Book by 10 April. Visit

The Spanish island of Mallorca is a great place to visit at this time of year with lots of sunshine, quiet beaches and beautiful countryside. Mallorca Farmhouses is giving you the perfect excuse to treat the kids (and adults!) to a week in a villa over the Easter holidays with its 20 per cent discount on accommodation. A week at the pretty three-bedroom cottage Agusti in Pollenca with a private pool starts from £484 for a stay commencing on 31 March or 7 April including maid service - that's just £80 per person based on six people sharing. Agusti has free internet access, a built-in BBQ station and a huge lawn for the kids to play on. Visit

Always fancied a trip to Italy's magical Lake Garda? Now is the perfect time to go as I Spy Camping is offering a holiday home that sleeps six people from £284 for seven nights over Easter, saving you £47. The holiday home is located at the Bella Italia campsite where there is a huge pool complex, windsurfing and canoeing on Lake Garda, plus the pretty town of Peschiera to explore nearby. Visit

Take in the cosmopolitan city of Toronto with Virgin Holidays where you'll pay £665 per person for three nights including flights, a stay at the Delta Chelsea and transfers with a saving of £265. Prices are based on 5 to 19 April departures. Some of the top attractions to include in your short break are the CN Tower, Casa Loma and the Royal Ontario Museum. Visit

Treat the kids to the ultimate Easter break in Orlando, Florida, where they can visit Universal Studios, SeaWorld Orlando and Walt Disney World. Expedia is making the trip just as fun for the adults by offering you a huge 45 per cent off your hotel stay this spring. A stay at the America's Best Inn and Suites for seven nights costs just £702 per person and includes return flights from London Heathrow departing on 6 April. The hotel is 30 miles from the airport and SeaWorld Orlando, and just one mile from the Sandlando Park and Altamonte Shopping Mall. Visit 

Looking for a great city to discover this spring? Visit the Swedish capital of Stockholm on a bargain break with British Airways. The Vasa Museum, the historic Old Town and the Royal Palace are just a few of the amazing sites for you can explore on a cultural holiday in the city. British Airways is offering three nights at the five-star Nobis Hotel from £369 per person based on two people sharing. The price includes return flights from Heathrow and departures are on 5 or 6 April. Visit


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