July 2011


On June 30th Unite, HLC and BECTU toured Hillingdon to show solidarity with striking public sector workers

ConDem initiative for growth proves to be a total flop

But there are plenty more crazy plans where that one came from. Check out the list at the bottom.

Willie Walsh admits that IAG wants to merge with TAP to gain control of Brazil market

Mr. Walsh's announcement is not a complete surprise, as the Portugese airline is well established in Brazil, a potentially lucrative market - and Iberia has a substantial presence in the rest of South America. However, while from the shareholders' perspective such a merger (or takeover) makes sense, the HLC would have to ask how many jobs might be lost as a result?

The merger of BA and Iberia has already seen job losses - and fears remain that up to 4,000 positions in aviation engineering could be at stake if IAG decides to have a single main engineering base for its fleet. At this point in time it is not known what the fate of aircraft engineers in Madrid, Heathrow and Barcelona might be. It seems unlikely that the group would keep 4 engineering bases if Lisbon was added to its list of hubs. Ticket sales, ground services, check in and administrative jobs might also be at stake.

It is also known that IAG is particularly interested in an alliance or merger with a major Asian carrier - most likely one based in China so that it can take advantage of increasing trade with the region. This latest announcement will do little to settle the nerves of a workforce that has been subjected to a lengthy period of change and uncertainty.

1st August 2011

CAA publishes first consultation document London Airports pricing for period from 2014

CAA press release and link to full consultation document

762 staff face loss of jobs at London hospital

Labour accuses government of depriving poorer areas of health funding to subsidise suburbs

Judge says H&S is not just "political correctness" as he fines firms £75,000 for accident

IAG returns to profit in first 6 months of 2011 as premium traffic returns

The poor face a cold winter as fuel prices due to increase by up to 18% on August 18th

Centrica, the owner of British Gas has been criticised after it declared profits of £1 billion and increased its dividends to shareholders by 12% shortly before increasing prices. Gas prices to customers are due to go up by 18% on average while electricity prices will go up by around 16%.

29th July 2011

BAA reports losses for first 2 quarters of 2011 down to £117 million from £167 million

Heathrow passengers increase by 9.1% and retail sales surge

TUC - Disability benefit cuts are nothing to do with helping disabled but just to save money

Please sign the petition to stop disabled people being stripped of benefits based on the ATOS test

Up to 70% of appeals (with representation) against ATOS decisions to strip claimants of their benefits are being won. So in only 30% of those cases that were appealed did they make the right decision. In other words, ATOS could do better by flipping a coin on these tests than using their computer software which picks out "keywords" to assess levels of disability. These tests do not work and they are causing untold hardship to very vulnerable people. There have been several suicides of people who are terrified they will not be able to pay their bills if their benefits are stopped. Patients with terminal cancer and heart conditions have been told that they are fit to work - proving ATOS wrong only when they have died. Please sign the petition. Thanks.

Boris Johnson restates opposition to any increase in Heathrow flights

Nothing new there then. His £40 billion airport in the Thames is still a non-starter though.

Lufthansa returns to operating profit

Government announces changes to public sector pensions while talks still in progress

TUC on government public sector pensions consultations

The government's own report from Lord Hutton states that public sector pensions are "not unaffordable" and will go down as a percentage of GDP. Are we being cynical to suggest that the reason that the ConDems want to get the pension costs down in the public sector is to make it easier to sell it off to their friends in private corporations?

28th July 2011

LSG Sky Chefs workers at Heathrow declare solidarity with US comrades

"Self-employed" workers declared to be "employees" in key court ruling

(We can't guarantee this was the original headline, but "It was the Sun wot won it" for Cameron)

US Republican demands to agree budget will put aviation safety at risk

US aviation industry lays off 4,000 workers as Republicans block budget till Obama agrees anti-union laws

Even Andrew Lansley attacks government plans for public sector pensions

Response to Norway bomb and massacre shows media is Islamaphobic

The media response to the Oslo bombing showed a bias to blame Muslim fundamentalists for the attack, even though there was no evidence at this time of who carried out the attrocity. When the full details of the bombing and the massacre at Utoeya Island started to become clear, rather than describe the events as the actions of a Christian fundamentalist, it tried to justify the actions of Anders Behring Breivik as being triggered by immigration levels in Norway.

If the press wishes to be regarded as objective, it must make a choice. Either all terrorists are individuals, whose actions are independent of their links with extremist groups. Or all those who commit acts of violence must be seen as a consequence of the culture of hate that is found in groups that promote bigotry and intolerance. We should not forget that the most shameful acts of the 20th century came from a white supremacy movement. Whether this was the Nazis in Germany, the Fascists in Italy, Serb extremists in Yugoslavia or the Ku Klux Klan in the USA - their actions were every bit as deplorable as 9/11.

The culture of hatred and intolerence that is promoted by the EDL, BNP and by some right wing newspapers such as the Daily Mail should be universally condemned.

25th July 2011

Anti-immigrant tabloids have questions to answer over Norway terror

Air France flight attendants call off 4 day strike

New bodyscanner sofware to be trialed in US removes need for "naked" image of passenger

How cuts to legal aid could affect YOU

Charity workers demand end to "Big Society" as cuts savage the voluntary sector

We may be "all in this together" Dave, but I bet it helps if you've got a few million in the bank

BAA considers legal battle to keep hold of Stansted

TUC General Secretary slams £14 billion bonuses in City as services continue to be slashed

Unite’s ‘Big Society’ road show ends in trip to Downing Street

ConDems try to sneak through more cuts & privatisations as Murdoch appears before MPs

As predicted by a nunmber of people, the ConDems have used the opportunity created by the Rupert and James Murdoch and Rebekah Brooks appearing in Westminster to try and introduce more cuts and privatisations without making headlines. Specifically £1 billion of NHS services have been offered out to tender in the private sector and schools services in Salford have been closed.

Interestingly Salford is the constituency of Labour MP Tom Watson, who was instumental in bringing the scale of phone hacking to light and the part that Andy Coulson may have had in it. One can only wonder if the timing of today's announcement of cuts is a form of punishment for the embarassment that he caused David Cameron.

19th July 2011

BAA loses final Competition Commission sell-off ruling

Protecting employees’ pay and employment conditions will be top priority in BAA airport sell-off, says Unite

Appeal court clears climate protesters

Iain McNicol named as new Labour general secretary

International Transport Workers Federation denounces aviation union leaders’ murder

The murder of the President of CBA union has sparked strikes at Pakistan International Airlines

19th July 2011

Stars fund fight to block library cuts

Air France Unions Call For Mid-Summer Strike

Appeal begins of 142 Iraqi civilian claiming torture and human right abuses by British Army

Qantas flights to Fiji under threat after military rulers clamp down on trade unions

PCS and POA begin fight against forced redundancy pay cuts in court battle

Tomorrow the Public and Commercial Services Union and the Prison Officers Association will begin a court battle to reverse the changes imposed by the government on contractual terms for redundancy in the public sector. This is seen as a key fight in the struggle that has seen millions of civil servants have poorer contracts, wages and pensions forced upon them. Many unions expect that if the government is successful in forcing its changes through on the public sector that private sector pensions and contracts will be their next target. Solidarity!

18th July 2011

New Oneworld Labour Council makes first approach to airline bosses

EMA study grant changes 'poorly executed', say MPs

Amnesty International launches web TV to mark 50th birthday fighting for human rights

Spain hopes to raise 5.3 billion euros by sale of Madrid and Barcelona airport concessions

NUJ General Secretary - "Murdoch is to blame for BBC job cuts and strike"

Murdoch cuts loose the most loyal person on his payroll - resignation eagerly anticipated

Heathrow to trial mixed mode use of runways

Opponents of NHS reforms petition Ealing MP

Chinese airline group bids for Hochtief Airport group

Housing crisis brings despair

A combination of inadequate government investment in social and affordable housing combined with pay freezes is making it harder and harder for many people to take out mortgages, or pay the ones that they already have. Private landlords are taking advantage by pushing up rents to record levels. Meanwhile, Eric Pickles widely criticised plans are predicted to make tens of thousands of people homeless.

15th July 2011

Air Algerie strike for fourth day

"We didn't vote to die at work" - TUC Hazards campaign

Safe working conditions are not just a "burden on buisiness". They are a fundamental human right. Support "Hazards" campaign to make the government improve workplace safety, not weaken it so that cowboy employers can make a quick buck.

15th July 2011

Elite’s grubby network that rules over Britain

Socialist Worker reports that David Cameron goes horse riding with Rebekah Brooks and was at Eton with her husband Charlie. The "Chipping Norton Set" exposed.

15th July 2011

Business group asks government to reconsider plan for direct high speed rail to Heathrow

Government cuts mean lack of funds to maintain Millenium Bridge

BA pension trustee claims scheme cannot afford RPI increases

Not sure that we believe him. But how long did BA decide to take a pension holiday and stop putting funds into the scheme? Was it 13 or 14 years?

15th July 2011

Unite charity workers protest on the first anniversary of the so-called ‘Big Society’

First Lufthansa Commercial Biofuel Flight Takes Off

But with 1 billion people going hungry on this planet, can we afford to use millions of acres of arable land to produce fuel rather than food?

15th July 2011

2,000 police officers join anti-cuts fight

ToryWatch - Philip Hammond, Minster for Transport and MP for Runneymede and Weybridge has a personal wealth estimated between £7.5 million and £9 million

TUC warns police that cuts in public services will make their jobs harder

Skyteam ailines staff kick off "Same Team, Same Rights" campaign

Government has reneged on its commitment to support manufacturing, says TUC

Unions dish dirt on shady Siemens as part of campaign to save Bombardier

Unite - Latest unemployment figures show stagnation, not growth

Government expectation that charities will replace legal aid shown as sham after IAS fails

Heathrow handles record passengers for third month running

April, May and June have all produced record passenger numbers for Heathrow, so we should be seeing employers bringing in extra staff. But some of our contacts are actually reporting that they are being expected to carry out more work with fewer staff than last year. What's the story in your area? hlc.lhr@gmail.com

13th July 2011

BAA likely to be told to sell Stansted and either Glasgow or Edinburgh within 18 months

Qantas pilots approve more strikes but are prepared to talk

Cameron’s public service ‘reforms’ slammed by Unite

This is nothing but a cynical abuse of government power by David Cameron to divert around 10% of taxpayers funding for health, education and other services into the pockets of the corporate vultures who are funding the Tory Party. The only way that similar services could be provided at the same cost is if there are massive cuts in jobs and/or wages. Southern Cross is a perfect example of why key services should not be put in the hands of the profiteers.

12th July 2011

White Paper is a manifesto to break up our public services, says TUC

Morning Star - PM hands privateers services on a plate

No signs yet that George Osbourne's plan for growth is working

Let's be honest, it's failing miserably

130,000 celebrate Britain's biggest political gathering - but where's Ed Miliband?

A massive trade union event organised by Durham Miners would have been an ideal opportunity for Ed Miliband to try and heal his relationship with the unions. But Ed decided not to attend. It has been suggested that he did not want to share a platform with speakers with stronger left wing views then he holds (Isn't that nearly everyone? - Ed).

Sorry, Mr. Miliband - that's not good enough. You can't keep taking the unions' money and then fail to support them in their time of need. Ordinary people are facing the worst attack on their jobs and living standards since the 2nd World War. This is no time for appeasement. It doesn't work. Just ask Neville Chamberlain.

July 10th 2011

New York airports estimate costs of failure to expand

New York faces similar opposition to expansion as London, but economics looks to win the argument there, as failure to expand would prevent the creation of 125,000 jobs and $16 billion in revenue.

Tolpuddle Martyrs' Festival 15th to 17th of July 2011

This was how it all began. Get involved and reinvigourate your trade union values.

Unprecedented demand for Tolpuddle Martyrs' Festival tickets as unions prepare for 'big fight'

KLM and Cobalt strike vote called off

Heathrow Express staff accept new pay deal

Labour - condemned for condemning strike

Talks between ver.di and easyJet unsuccessful so far

Are Pickles and Shapps misleading the public on homelessness?

Air France Flyers Told to Take Own Trash

Without Legal Aid how do victim’s families take on the News of the World?

Virgin Atlantic strike threat is lifted following new pay offer

McCluskey: The abuse of Britain by the elite must end

NHS birthday celebrated with protest

Waiting list report highlights concerns about health secretary’s ‘brave new world’

The NHS is 63 today, but will it reach 64?

If you care about the future of our public health services, please don't wait until it's too late.


5th July 2011

British Airways restructures operations into Boeing and Airbus fleets

Not sure how this is going to affect flight crew and engineering job profiles. More info when we have any.

Air industry giants to set up "Aviation Foundation" to promote joint interests

British Airways, BAA, Virgin and Manchester Airports Group are in the process of setting up a group to promote their interests and those of the civil air transport industry. The group is seen as a replacement for the lobby group Flying Matters. 

Flybe boss - Heathrow's rivals will be "delighted" by Tory decision to scrap 3rd runway

ICAO adopts safety information code of conduct

The International Civil Aviation Organisation, which governs safety within the air transport sector at international level has issued a code on safety information. ICAO has taken the position that air safety is too important to allow information to be restricted where it could help to avoid serious accidents. The code will not in itself be automatically binding on member nations, but hopefully will assist in ending a situation where certain companies in civil aviation act as if sharing safety information is a breach of their masonic rules.

 Following the recent vote by 97% by Virgin's pilots in BALPA for strike action - Richard Branson said that the management offer was generous, perhaps too generous. The HLC would like to point out that Virgin Trains is subsidised by the taxpayer to the tune of £40 million - of which £17.8 million went to Richard Branson as shareholder dividends. We would argue that the taxpayer is being too generous and that if dividends like these are affordable, the taxpayer should not be subsidising Mr. Branson's empire.

Right wing anger at strikes is really about protecting the status quo

One of the best articles I've read about the realities behind the public sector strikes

ConDem safety cuts could result in the death of hundreds from asbestos

Heathrow carries out massive purge of illegal taxi touts

Judge rejects Boeing motion to dismiss case over moving production to non-union state

Tuesday 5th is the 63rd birthday of the NHS - make sure it's not the last!

The NHS seems to be the only thing that this government wants to stop working before it reaches its late 60s. So please write to your MP and ask for their support to keep our NHS public. Kill the Bill!

More soon.

1st July 2011

Heathrow Border Agency staff join strike over pensions

While from a technical point of view, the public sector strikes today probably caused less disruption than the royal wedding, it is likely that the government will have been unsettled by between 600,000 and 700,000 people taking industrial action today. More to the point - Ed Miliband will be wondering if he should have ignored his advisors and supported the strikes - as polls indicate that the public are strongly in favour of the public sector workers taking this action (Channel 4 - 77%, Guardian - 69%) The action has at least made many of the public aware that -

a) The public sector made major sacrifices 2 years ago when it agreed changes that would save the treasury £5 billion a year

b) The cost to the treasury of public sector pensions (as a % of GDP) is actually predicted to go down (according to the government's own advisors)

BALPA hits back in war of words over Virgin pilots dispute

Public Sector pension protests hit Uxbridge and Hillingdon

Public Sector workers refuse to give up their pensions to pay for bankers' greed

Ruth Cadbury blog on Heathrow expansion

BALPA hits back in war of words over Virgin pilots dispute

Public Sector pension protests hit Uxbridge and Hillingdon

Public sector workers and their supporters in Uxbridge today. Spot the HLC representative being used as a flagpole?