Airport workers to stage 48-hour strike from December 23

More than 1,500 check-in staff, baggage handlers and cargo crew across 18 airports will strike for 48 hours from December 23.

Unite said the strike by Swissport workers is related to a long-running pay dispute.

The union has called on the management to take part in "constructive negotiations" to avoid Christmas travel disruption at the UK’s airports.

In a separate announcement, British Airways said that cabin crew will strike on Christmas Day and Boxing Day in a row over pay.

Unite has Swissport members at the following airports:

  • Aberdeen

  • Belfast

  • Birmingham

  • Bristol

  • Bournemouth

  • Cardiff

  • Doncaster

  • East Midlands

  • Edinburgh

  • Gatwick

  • Glasgow

  • Heathrow

  • Leeds/Bradford

  • Luton

  • Manchester

  • Newcastle

  • Southampton

  • Stansted

Swissport workers will strike for 48 hours from December 23. Credit: PA

Why are Swissport workers striking?

  • Unite members voted 62.5% to reject a 4.65% three year pay deal for 2015-2017. The union said the offer barely kept pace with inflation

  • The staff were also said to be angry that detrimental changes to terms and conditions have been linked to the pay deal

  • The changes include freezing overtime payments for the foreseeable future and restructuring pay

Unite national officer Oliver Richardson said: "We appreciate that this is a very busy time of year at the UK's airports and that's why we are calling for the company to engage in constructive talks under the auspices of Acas to resolve this dispute. Unite's door is open 24/7 for such talks.

"Our members are only taking this industrial action as a last resort in a bid to reach a fair settlement - our members have not had a pay rise since 2014."

The news came an hour after an announcement that pilots at Virgin Atlantic had voted for industrial action short of a strike in a dispute over union recognition. Members of the PPU union will "work to contract " from December 23.