Luton airport passengers facing Easter delays over strike action fears

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Luton Airport
Passengers at London Luton Airport could be facing strike action by baggage handlers and check-in staff over Easter.

In the week easyJet and British Airways have had to cancel flights because of a shortage of crew caused by the rise in Covid cases, passengers using Wizz Air face delays after staff failed to reach an agreement with GH London Ground Handling Services over pay and conditions.

Union Unite has warned that around 100 of its members will strike between April 14 and 19, over GH London’s failure to introduce promised improvements to sick pay for all employees.

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The workers are also striking over the regular failure to pay wages on time.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “There’s a cost-of-living crisis gripping the country – workers need every penny of their wages, and they need it paid on time. GH London has to get a grip to sort out its payroll and stick to its promise to give company sick pay to all employees.

“Unite is entirely dedicated to defending our members’ jobs, pay and conditions and GH London’s workforce have the union’s full backing during these strikes.”

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Wizz Air is based at Luton airport and flies to more than 140 destinations.

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Unite’s GH London members voted by 96 per cent for industrial action in a ballot with an 82 per cent turnout.

Unite regional officer Jeff Hodges said: “GH London has a rapidly closing window of time to stop Easter holiday disruption for Wizz Air passengers.

“The company seems to have gone out of its way to treat employees with contempt but there is still time for these strikes to be avoided. GH London simply has to keep its promises on sick pay and fix its payroll system."

GH Handling has been approached for comment.

easyJet has cancelled almost 300 flights countrywide since Saturday.

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An easyJet spokesperson said: “As a result of the current high rates of Covid infections across Europe, like all businesses easyJet is experiencing higher than usual levels of employee sickness.”

A spokesman told the Guardian newspaper that the numbers, largely across Gatwick, Luton and Manchester airports, were a small proportion of the company’s total flying programme.