Ryanair passengers face chaos over bank holiday strike

AOL Travel

Passengers flying on airlines including Ryanair over the Jubilee bank holiday are facing the threat of disruption because of a series of strikes by baggage handlers at Stansted Airport.

A dispute over rotas means that the first of a series of stoppages will take place from 5.30am today (Wednesday May 23) to 5.30am on Thursday May 24.

Strikes will also take place from 5.30 am on Saturday May 26 until Monday May 28, and from Saturday June 2 until Tuesday June 5 - the bank holiday.

The GMB union claims that the proposed new rotas will lead to reduction in incomes of members. Talks with their employer, ground service company Swissport, have been ongoing since Easter, but have since broken down.

Airlines to be affected by the industrial action include Ryanair, Thomas Cook, Thomson, Atlasjet and BelleAir. Easyjet flights will not be affected as it uses a different baggage handling company.

GMB organiser Gary Pearce told the Herts and Essex Observer: "GMB negotiators have been in talks to reach an agreement to resolve this issue."

"It is a shame that Swissport has made and then withdrawn a number of proposals, including a return to the original "four days on, two days off" roster which would have settled the dispute. The proposals were withdrawn last Friday."

Swissport says it has made contingency plans to ensure the airport operates as normal during the first planned stoppage, and Ryanair has said that the dispte would have "no effect" on flights - although passengers will not be able to check in bags.