Home > Uncategorized > Is the strike action at Liverpool Airport coming to an end?

Is the strike action at Liverpool Airport coming to an end?

There was no strike action on Friday at John Lennon Airport as the GMB called off strike action for the day in response to Servisair’s decision to request that the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service become involved in negotiations. This is in the wake of Servisair’s attempt to seize striker’s ID passes and successfully ‘locking out’ for a day all those involved in strike action.

Up to 101 baggage handlers have been taking strike action since the 23rd of November in response to 33 compulsory redundancies (negotiated down from 75). The baggage handlers are also being asked to carry out extra duties as part of a move towards a casualised agency work force.

At Manchester Airport all baggage handlers taken on since the summer have been trained and required to work in the bag hall and on the ramp. These new workers are also employed on inferior terms and conditions to existing staff, whilst ex-Servisair workers from Manchester are being used to break the strike in Liverpool.

Below are two articles taken from the Liverpool Echo .

Picket line, Nov 23 (Liverpool Echo)

‘Servisair baggage handler strike at Liverpool John Lennon airport turns nasty’ (Dec 12)

A DISPUTE between Servisair airport baggage handlers at Liverpool John Lennon Airport and their bosses has turned bitter over the threat of deducted wages for strikers.

Servisair employees are currently taking discontinuous strike action against the likelihood of 37 compulsory redundancies.

Workers in Speke have taken industrial action for around a fortnight now, walking out for two hours in a morning and afternoon, for four days a week.

Now the Runcorn-based firm have told picketers they are not allowed to return to their posts on any day they choose to strike.

And Servisair warned employees they will not be paid for that day’s shift if they take industrial action. As relations between both sides remain at deadlock, the GMB union said they were incensed by an apparent move to confiscate ID passes from strikers.

Servisair has reportedly attempted to persuade Peel Holdings, the airport’s owners, to seize the identification.

Liverpool airport bosses, not having been given any notice of formal termination or suspension of anyone’s employment, refused the request.

GMB is considering legal action against Servisair and wrote a strongly-worded letter, via their solicitor, to the baggage handling firm.

Up to 101 staff are walking out as Servisair draft in replacements from other airports to deal with baggage from airlines including Ryanair, Easyjet, KLM, FlyBe and Hungarian-based WizzAir.

Simpsons Solicitors also described the removal of airside passes threat as “sinister”, as the dispute showed no sign of being resolved.

The dispute centres on a demand from Servisair instructing 37 compulsory redundancies while making existing staff carry out more duties.

The union argue they are already understaffed and have promised to undertake the extra work but only with the current workforce numbers. Despite repeated calls to outline the position, Servisair declined to comment to the ECHO, although a spokesman added: “We are disappointed that the strike is ongoing. We are looking to resolve this, but neither are yet in agreement.”

Eddie Parker, from GMB, said: “Servisair continues to bring in outside labour and put them up in premium hotels, paying them breakfast, lunch and dinner. We thoroughly reject the company not allowing our members back to work and refusing to pay them for hours worked on discontinuous action days.”

Liverpool Airport, who are remaining neutral in the dispute, said the events had caused little disruption and passengers had not been subjected to delays.

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‘ACAS brought in to resolve Servisair baggage handler strike at Liverpool John Lennon Airport’ (Dec 14)

MEDIATORS are intervening in a strike at Liverpool John Lennon Airport over the threat of compulsory redundancies.

Baggage handlers in Speke have conducted a four week discontinuous walkout for the last month.

It involves a two hour morning and afternoon strike, for four days each week, by Servisair employees angry with a proposed 33 jobs being axed.

Now, after a month of little agreement between the Runcorn-based firm and union GMB, the first glimmer of light has emerged.

Servisair has contacted the governmental Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (Acas) to ask them to help negotiations. Talks will take place tomorrow to try and find a resolution.

That step was today welcomed by GMB who said, in response, they were cancelling their four-hour strike today and two-hour walk out on Friday morning.

Regional organiser Eddie Parker said: “ACAS has contacted us to say Servisair have been in touch and want a meeting.

“I’m in the process of writing a letter to the company, and as a goodwill gesture, we will not take industrial action today and Friday morning. We are making every effort to find a resolution. This is good news as recently there has been no movement whatsoever.”

Tension has remained high at Liverpool airport as Servisair tried to suspend the ID passes of striking workers.

That was rejected by airport bosses Peel Holdings, but resentment remains over the handling agent’s decision to ban employees from returning to work on discontinuous days of action, and to withhold pay.

The dispute has seen up to 100 staff walking out, leaving emergency contingency workers to cope with baggage from flights of airlines including Ryanair, KLM, and FlyBe.

Servisair is pushing for compulsory job cuts while asking existing staff to become more multi-skilled to carry out extra duties. But GMB say that increased workload is impossible with reduced manpower.

The firm refused to comment.

An Acas spokesman said: “We are in touch with the parties with a view to arranging talks.”

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