1. ITV Report

Baggage handlers strike at Stansted Airport

Baggage handlers at Stansted Airport in Essex have began a four-day strike over roster changes. Photo: Chris Radburn/PA Wire

Baggage handlers and other ground staff at** **Stansted Airport in Essex have started a four-day strike in a dispute over new rosters.

Members of the GMB and Unite unions employed by contractor Swissport have already taken industrial action, although the company said it failed to have any impact on passengers.

The unions claimed new rosters threaten pay cuts for their members and would mean staff working extra days for free.

Paul Bouch of Unite said: "Sadly, despite the unions' best efforts to resolve this dispute, Swissport is stubbornly sticking to an offer which will see staff work 14 extra days a year for no extra pay - an offer which had already been roundly rejected by our members."

Stansted Airport says it's open and plans to operate as normal. Swissport has contingency plans in place and says it expects to operate a full flight schedule.

Swissport serves Ryanair, Atlasjet, Thomson, Thomas Cook and Belleair. Other airlines like easyJet, Air Berlin, Germanwings, Pegasus are unaffected by any industrial action. Stansted is recommending that passengers allow plenty of time for their journey to the airport and arrive at least two hours prior to departure as normal.

Click here to check if your travel plans are affected.

The Jubilee weekend action follows a previous one-day strike in May. Swissport said it had made a third enhanced offer which had been rejected by the unions. The company said the previous action had failed to have any impact on passengers.

"The unions’ cynical attempt to disrupt passengers plans over the busy early summer period has failed. The contingency plans we put in place, combined with the hard work and dedication of our staff not involved in the action has ensured passengers have not been impacted by the strike. Anyone planning to fly through Stansted this weekend can do so with confidence.”_

– Richard Prince, General Manager Swissport Stansted

Gary Pearce of the GMB said: "Both unions are committed to settling this dispute. It's a shame that Swissport does not share our commitment to the workforce. Strike action is always a measure of last resort. We hope Swissport sees sense."

The strike started at 5.30am on Saturday and will end at the same time on Wednesday.