Strike action set to proceed at Belfast City Airport over Swissport dismissal of union rep

George BrashFirst two hours strike action by baggage handlers and ground staff will commence at 2.15pm tomorrow [Monday October 23rd]  

Last minutes talks offered by Swissport management for 10am [on Monday October 23rd] must address staff concerns to avert action

Speaking after management sent him an email inviting him to last ditch talks ahead of scheduled stoppages tomorrow [2.15-4.15pm Monday October 23rd], Unite Regional Industrial Officer, George Brash said: 

“Over past weeks, Unite has repeatedly called on Swissport management to take seriously the concerns of their workers in Belfast City Airport over the dismissal of a leading union rep. Today, the day before scheduled strike action, management has emailed me to request last ditch talks to avert the likely disruption that would be associated with our members’ planned stoppages. 

“Unite will enter positively the meeting with management, set for 10am tomorrow, hopeful that they will finally get serious about their workers’ concerns and take the necessary steps to avert planned strike action but if this meeting is to be just another exercise in denial, it will be a very short one. 

“Unless management demonstrates a genuine willingness to provide redress for our concerns, the strike action agreed by the workforce will proceed tomorrow from 2.15pm to 4.15pm. The strike action will see baggage-handlers and ground staff walking off their shifts and forming pickets outside the entrance to Belfast City Airport. Seven Flybe flights, one by British Airways and a KLM service are likely to be impacted by the action. 

“This dispute is entirely avoidable and is a result of the high-handed arrogance of Swissport management in Belfast. Their threats to prevent workers returning to their shifts after participating in lawful strike action, and to staff livelihoods in the mouth of Christmas, have only reinforced the commitment of our members.  

“Unite represents the overwhelming bulk of workers in Swissport in Belfast City Airport. These workers stand in close solidarity with their dismissed colleague who was targeted as part of a sustained campaign against active trade unionism on the site. They know that this attack on a union rep indicates the likelihood of a broader assault on workers’ rights since a strong union is the only defence against an arrogant management. 

“In order to avoid disruption for the travelling public, Swissport management in Belfast City Airport need to positive steps in tomorrow’s meeting”, Mr Brash concluded.

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