Baggage Handlers May Stage Walk-Out At LPL

Baggage handlers at Liverpool's John Lennon airport could stage a walk-out in a row over job losses and cuts to working hours.

Union chiefs say they will ballot workers on strike action if they are not contacted by employer Handling Solutions by Monday.

The company, which manages luggage at JLA for airline easyJet, plans to get rid of 10 members of staff and cut the hours of nearly 90 others.

A 90-day consultation process began last month and the changes are expected to be implemented between January 14 and April 14.

GMB regional organiser Eddie Parker said: "We are required to give the company seven days' notice of our plan to ballot, then members will be told they have a right to vote.

"After the ballot has taken place, we must then give another seven days' notice of our intention to strike.

"If the process begins on Monday, we will probably be looking at strike action taking place around early February."

Baggage handlers staged several walk-outs during the 2011 Christmas period after Runcorn-based Servisair announced plans to cut up to 35 jobs.

Under the latest plans set out by Handling Solutions, 13 full-time frontof-house staff will be offered part-time, 30-hour contracts and 32 part-time passenger agents will see their hours cut to 25 a week.

Of the 25 full-time back-of-house staff, 22 will be offered 30-hour contracts and 16 of the current 23-strong team of part-time workers will have their hours cut to 25 per week, with the rest being made redundant.

Managing director John Fulford blamed an "ongoing general downturn in flight schedules" for the cuts.

In a letter to the GMB, he added: "If agreement cannot be reached we would propose to write to each member of staff in due course following the conclusion of consultation notifying them of the proposals and serving notice.

"If they do not accept the new offer of alternative employment and the new terms and conditions of employment, their employment will terminate on the expiry of their notice period."

No one from Handling Solutions was available for further comment today.

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