Published on Monday, December 19, 2016

Talks start today to try to avert Christmas strikes

Talks aimed at averting Christmas strikes by airport and airline staff will take place this week.

Conciliation service Acas is to host talks between British Airways and representatives of its cabin crew this morning, while talks to avert a baggage handler strike by employees of Swissport will take place tomorrow.

Acas confirmed: "BA and Unite have accepted our invitation to attend conciliation talks in respect of the cabin crew dispute."

Unite general secretary Len McCluskey said he was 'delighted' the talks will take place, while BA said: "We are pleased that Unite are willing to meet us at Acas. We remain focused on resolving this as quickly as possible for our customers."

Unite will also be at tomorrow's meeting at Acas for talks over the proposed walkout later this week by baggage handlers and other ground staff employed by Swissport at airports around the country.

Kicking off what has been dubbed the 'Christmas of discontent', an estimated 1,500 check-in staff, baggage handlers and cargo crew employed by Swissport at up to 18 airports will strike for 48 hours from December 23.

Affected airports include Gatwick, Heathrow and Stansted in the London area, plus regional airports Birmingham, Manchester, East Midlands, Glasgow and Belfast.

On the same day, Virgin Atlantic pilots will start working 'strictly to contract' in a dispute over union recognition.

Virgin expressed disappointment but said services were expected to operate as normal.

BA said it is 'appalled' Mixed Fleet cabin crew at Heathrow have voted to strike on Christmas Day and Boxing Day and the airline promised customers would get to their destination despite the disruption.

"This calculated and heartless action is completely unnecessary and we are determined that it will fail," said a BA spokesperson.

In addition to the airport and airline action, there is ongoing industrial action on Southern Railway and a 'work to rule' on London Underground. Post Office workers will also strike next week, including on Christmas Eve.

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  • Rabble

    Are you not aware that these trade union rabble and their loathsome leaders do not know the meaning o words such as 'ashamed', 'callous', or 'selfish'. Of course there are other ways, but to enter into negotiations would require brain activity and dialogue which these people are demonstrably incapable of.

    By Allen Maclean, Tuesday, December 20, 2016

  • Appalling

    The various airline strikers might have valid reasons for taking their bosses to task but over Christmas? They claim to be standing up for workers rights but they are happy to totally destroy the Christmas of thousands of their fellow workers. Maybe they have or think they have valid reasons but action at that particular time is callous and hugely selfish. There are other ways. They should be ashamed.

    By Keith Standen, Monday, December 19, 2016

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