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Redundancy plans for 95 baggage handlers at Belfast City Airport 'devastating'

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The company that employs Belfast City Airport's baggage handlers and check-in staff has plans for 95 redundancies at the site, a union has said. (Steve Parsons/PA)

The company that employs Belfast City Airport's baggage handlers and check-in staff has plans for 95 redundancies at the site, a union has said. (Steve Parsons/PA)

The company that employs Belfast City Airport's baggage handlers and check-in staff has plans for 95 redundancies at the site, a union has said. (Steve Parsons/PA)

The company that employs Belfast City Airport's baggage handlers and check-in staff has plans for 95 redundancies at the site, a union has said.

Swissport notified the union Unite of the commencement of a 30-day consultation on the job losses yesterday.

This comes just days after employees at the airport were put on a 14-day lay-off following the collapse of Flybe.

Unite was also told that around 80 employees of Swissport at Aberdeen and Glasgow airports are at "immediate risk" of being made redundant.

Unite's regional officer for the staff at Belfast City Airport, George Brash, said the news was "devastating" for the workers.

"The news came only hours after Flybe workers were joined by other staff, including Swissport workers, for a rally at the steps of Stormont," he continued.

"Airport workers chanted demands that local ministers intervene to save jobs, vital connectivity and the future of Belfast City Airport. We hope that the politicians were listening as they have only a narrow window of opportunity to avert what is a full-blown crisis at Belfast City Airport and the Northern Ireland economy.

"If the politicians continue to be inactive, airlines will be allowed to cherry-pick the profitable routes without establishing a base in the airport.

"Unfortunately, the politicians do not appear to grasp the importance of securing an airline to base itself at the airport for its long-term future and that of the workforce. If an airline cannot be found to do that, then we will need a political intervention - both from Stormont and Westminster.

"Six hundred billion in capital investment was announced by the Chancellor to the Exchequer today - it is vital that at least some of that is allocated to defend vital regional connectivity and jobs.

"Northern Ireland cannot be left behind."

Following the news of the 14-day lay-off on Monday, a Swissport spokesman had previously said: "Flybe's unfortunate news has come at a very challenging time for the industry.

"As a business, we have a responsibility to carefully consider the impact this has on our company and identify the best outcome for all our employees and partners across the business.

"Consultations with members of the Swissport team at Belfast City Airport are ongoing so we cannot comment further at this time."

Flybe was responsible for around 80% of Belfast City Airport's flights.

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