London Southend Airport could be severely disrupted the Christmas period after workers voted to strike today.
Members of GMB voted to strike in retaliation for the airport’s owner – Stobart Aviation – refusing to recognise the union for the purpose of collective bargaining.
Union members are also disgruntled at management for not providing sufficient protective clothing and training.
Complaints were also made about changes to their contracts and what they are paid compared to staff in other local airports.
Baggage handling, security, aircraft dispatch and flight operations will walk off the job if no resolution is reached.
Union officials believe more than half of the airport’s staff are GMB members, however this is a claim disputed by Stobart Aviation.
A Southend spokesman said: “London Southend Airport has a comprehensive action plan in place to ensure that this suggested action from GMB does not impact on our passengers’ well-earned Christmas breaks.”
Union officials have asked to meet with people from the airport next week in talks mediated by the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (Acas).
However, Stobart Aviation has not yet agreed to attend the talks.
GMB regional organiser Gary Pearce said: “Stobart Aviation and Stobart Aviation Services failure to accept GMB members request to formally recognise their Union for the purpose of collective bargaining and all related matters has left our members with no alternative other than to take strike action over the Christmas holiday.
“Both Stobart Aviation Services and Stobart Aviation can prevent the travel chaos at Southend Airport by simply agreeing to provide GMB with a formal agreement.”