DALLAS – The UK’s busiest cargo airport East Midlands (EMA), could face severe disruption this summer as Swissport workers have begun balloting for strike action.
Swissport staff who are members of the GMB union will be voting until Thursday, June 22. The move follows a dispute over night shift pay between the workers and the airport.
Sarah James, GMB Regional Organiser, said, “It’s GMB members that keep East Midlands airport moving, day and night. As one of the UK’s top cargo airports, our members work around the clock to keep vital services at the airport running for passengers and cargo.
“Swissport are unfairly applying their own rules on payments for night shifts, with workers missing out on potentially hundreds of pounds a month. Strike action is a last resort, but our members have been flat-out ignored by Swissport top brass.”
Pre-pandemic EMA handled over 370,000 tons of cargo each year. This includes the transportation of car parts, manufacturing and healthcare parts. The figure swelled to 406,000 tons in 2020 thanks to the surge in freight demand post-COVID.
Heathrow Strikes Postponed
The news comes after London’s Heathrow Airport (LHR) narrowly avoided summer strike action following an agreement being reached with over 2,000 security workers.
Previously the Unite union had announced that its workers would begin a 31-day strike over low pay from June 24. The airport has now put forward a new offer on which workers will be balloted, meaning strikes on June 24, 25 will be postponed. Unite said that this was a “gesture of goodwill.” However, if the deal is rejected, then the remaining 29 days of strikes will continue as planned.
Featured Image: An aerial view of EMA. Photo: East Midlands Airport.