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David Neal

Baggage handlers set for walkout at Stansted over the Bank Holiday

Staff at Stansted Airport have announced plans to strike during the upcoming Jubilee Bank Holiday weekend.

Baggage handlers will strike from 5.30 am on Wednesday 23rd May (tomorrow) in the first of seven days of strike action in total.

Members of the GMB union voted in favour of industrial action over changes to staffing rotas.

The airport management and handling company, Swissport, expects that the series of walkouts will not cause any major disruption. However, budget airline Ryanair has already issued warnings to passengers.

Swissport has been planning to change the rotas of airport staff, which the union claims would force each employee to work for up to a dozen extra days a year with reduced earnings.

It's been reported that 150 baggage handlers as set to walk out as a result of these planned changes. They predominantly work on Ryanair flights but also handle baggage for other popular tour operators such as Thomas Cook, Thompson and a number of others.

Easyjet flights from Stansted will not be affected by the industrial unrest.

Ground staff will strike from 5.30am tomorrow for 24 hours and then from 5.30 am on Saturday 26th May until 5.30 am on Monday 28th May.

Strikers will also walkout at the Essex airport from 5.30 am on Saturday 2nd June until 5.30 am on Wednesday 6th June.

GMB previously threated to strike earlier this year over the introduction of new rotas but subsequently suspended action. Negotiations have yet to be reached since the union called off the first strike at Easter. Talks broke down last week and GMB have given seven days notice for the strike action.

GMB organiser Gary Pearce said: "Swissport made and then withdrew a number of proposals which would have settled the dispute. It seems we have reached the end of the line.”

It may be advisable to check your holiday travel insurance policy to see if you are covered against strike action.