Stansted baggage staff threaten August Bank Holiday strikes


Travel disruption as Stansted baggage staff threaten Bank Holiday strike

There could be travel chaos at Stansted Airport over the August Bank Holiday weekend as baggage workers are set to stage a series of strikes over pay cuts.

The workers who scan bags before they are loaded onto the plane are threatening a series of two and a half hour stoppages twice a day over four days from Friday 23 August.

According to the Daily Telegraph, the strikes will be staged at 3.30am and 3.30pm by 40 members of the GMB union.

Passengers could then be left with the choice of being delayed or travelling with cabin luggage alone.

The contractor running the baggage system, Mitie, says it still hopes to be able to reach an agreement with the union.

A Mitie spokesman told the BBC: "We hope that we will be able to reach an agreement with the union, but if we can't, full contingency plans will be put into place to ensure any disruption to passengers is kept to a minimum."

Gary Pearce, GMB regional officer, said the dispute is over the fact that Mitie wants GMB union members to "agree to the removal of premium rates for working nights or overtime worth 3.5% to pay for a pay rise of 2%", reports the BBC.

Mr Pearce told the Daily Telegraph that the walkout will cause "huge delays", saying: "Our members will have two stoppages of two and a half hours each, to avoid closing the check in desks for the whole day.

"When they do start work they will do their best to get the bags on the aircraft but there will be huge delays."

Travel Weekly reports that GMB members were 92 per cent in favour of strike action over pay cuts.

Mr Pearce told the site: "In spite of months of talks telling the company this was not acceptable to our members they went ahead and imposed these pay cuts from June.

"GMB as always is available to have discussions – but only the restoration of these premium rates will avert these stoppages."

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