Airport travellers face disruption and chaos as over 1,500 airport employees plan to Strike just days before Christmas. The strike will take place at 18 UK airports on Friday December 23, the busiest day of the festive season. Baggage handlers employed at Swissport, the world's biggest baggage handling service, are striking due to a longstanding dispute over pay. The industrial action is set to end on Christmas Eve (December 24).

Lack of pay raise

Unite has stated that their members have not seen an increase in pay within the last two years. 62.5% of Unite members voted against a 4.65% pay deal spanning three years, as they argued that the deal does not keep up with inflation.

Overtime pay being freezed and pay restructuring are also included in the changes.

Oliver Richardson, national officer for civil air transport at Unite, told the Independent "Our members are only taking this industrial action as a last resort in a bid to reach a fair settlement. 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 Ava's to resolve this dispute".

Swissport operates at several British airports such as Manchester, Luton and Stanstead. But Heathrow, Gatwick, Edinburgh, Bristol, Glasgow, Leeds/Bradford, Newcastle and Birmingham are among the airports that could potentially be affected by the strike.

In contrast, Cardiff Airport has confirmed that the strike will not affect the running of the airport.

More festive strikes

This is not the only strike planned over the festive period, with Argos delivery drivers planning to strike on the 20th of December. This comes after 83% of Unite members voted in favour of the industrial walk-out after employees missed out on £700 worth of holiday back pay over two years.

Cabin crew employed with British Airways at Heathrow Airport are striking on Christmas Day and Boxing Day, with over 4,500 contracted staff staging industrial action over conditions and pay.