Belfast Telegraph

Belfast City Airport strike over sacked worker

By John Mulgrew

Belfast City Airport has said it will work to ensure a strike by baggage handlers does not cause passenger disruption.

The pledge came after members of Unite the union who work for Swissport - which provides baggage handling services for the airport - voted to take industrial action.

Unite, which represents around 100 workers at the airport, claimed the move was related to management dismissal of a union representative.

George Brash, a regional officer for the union, said: "This is a clear vote in favour of strike action - 60% of our membership in the airport voted for strike action in a secret ballot conducted over the past weeks.

"This ballot was taken across all our members in the airport and we would anticipate that the strength of the vote would have been even stronger if we had taken it among the baggage handlers alone."

Mr Brash also insisted workers were "determined to defend the Unite the union representative who was dismissed by management".

"The members, Unite in Northern Ireland and our UK-wide National Negotiating Committee are unequivocal in our support for this member," he said. "The actions of Swissport management are indefensible."

A spokesperson for Belfast City Airport said: "We will continue to monitor the situation and work closely with the relevant partners to ensure no disruption for passengers."

Swissport was contacted for comment but did not respond.

The news comes as Belfast employees of outsourcing group Capita prepare to stage a six-day strike in a row over pension changes.

Members of the Unite union will walk out of work from October 5 after voting heavily in favour of industrial action.

The union said the action was being taken over plans to close the current defined benefit pension scheme and transfer staff to a defined contribution scheme. Dominic Hook, Unite national officer condemned the proposed switch.

He said: "The disgraceful plans by Capita to slash the deferred pay that staff will get in retirement is utterly unacceptable.

"Capita's pension proposals will have far-reaching consequences for the retirement of many Unite members."

Belfast Telegraph

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