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30th March 2012
Passengers travelling through Stansted airport next weekend may face disruptions as baggage handlers prepare to go on strike
From Good Friday on 6 April through to East Monday on 9 April, 150 baggage handlers will be on strike at the airport. The workers are taking action against their employer, Swissport. Although Swissport claim there will be no disruption to passengers, the baggage handler union GMB states otherwise.
"At this time we can confirm the airport will be open as normal, passengers should travel to the airport as normal and we expect no disruption to our services," Swissport said in a statement yesterday.
However, GMB official Gary Pearce said: “Unless there are urgent talks and a settlement, this vote for action this will result in disruption over the Easter Bank Holiday weekend."
Not all flights from Stansted will be affected by the strikes. Swissport provides handling services to the following airlines at Stansted: Air Arabia, Air Malta, Blue Air, Cyprus Airways, Eurocypria, Monarch Airlines, Norwegian.no, Ryanair, SunExpress, Thomson Airways and Turkish Airlines. Travellers planning to fly with any of these airlines are advised to contact their provider for more information about how they might be affected.
Passengers travelling with different airlines, including easyJet, should be unaffected by the strike.
There is still some hope that the argument over working hours and pay will be resolved before next weekend. The row began when Swissport asked their workers to spread their hours over a five-day week instead of a four-day week. GMB claim this change could cause workers pay to be reduced by £1,000.
Ryanair communications director Stephen McNamara said: "In the unlikely event of strike action by airport baggage handlers Ryanair will operate its flights with carry-on baggage only, thereby ensuring that Ryanair passengers are not held to ransom by greedy unions."
If the strikes go ahead, they will take place on one of the busiest weekends of the year in Britain's fourth biggest airport.
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