Baggage Handlers Without Drivers Licenses May Lose Jobs

Baggage handlers at Liverpool John Lennon Airport who don't have a driving license are in danger of losing their jobs.

Handling Solutions, which deals with luggage at Liverpool John Lennon Airport, is planning to cut 11 jobs from their 100-strong workforce before Christmas.

Managing director John Fulford said the company, which deals with budget airline easyJet, can no longer afford to employ staff who do not drive.

He said: "It is usual for airside ground staff to hold a driving license and Airport Driving Permit, which allows them to transport baggage to and from aircraft.

"Out of about 40 airside staff, there are 11 who do not have a driving licence. In previous years, having a few people on every shift who were unable to drive was not an insurmountable problem.

"But due to the reduced number of flights currently being operated by easyJet, it is unsustainable for us to have effectively a quarter of the workforce with no driving licence.

"Regrettably, we have to make cuts and the criteria for those cuts is based around whether staff can drive.

"We have done our very best to minimise the impact on staff."

Consultation with workers began last month and is expected to end by next week.

The GMB union said officers are in the process of holding meetings with the company and members who could find themselves out of work.

Regional organiser Eddie Parker said: "We do not see why there has to be any reduction in the number of workers at Liverpool airport.

"We also don't believe the company should be allowed to base its selection on this criteria and we have said we disagree, but that is all we can do at the moment.

"We will be continuing to support staff through the consultation period and hopefully at future employment tribunals."

Baggage handlers at Liverpool staged a strike over Christmas and New Year last year, in protest against redundancies by employers Servisair.

GMB backed members in two-hour walk-outs every morning and afternoon, four days a week, over the festive period.

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