September 2011

Branson wants regulators to stop BA’s ‘salami slicing’ of BMI

The HLC shares Richard Branson's concerns. If BA purchases bmi then it must not be just to acquire its slots and to strip the airline of its assets. Jobs must be protected and choice must be retained for the travelling public. As the fuel price fixing scandal showed, it is not in the interest of passengers if one or a small number of airlines become so big that they have a virtual monopoly on certain routes.

28th September 2011

Airlines Should Brace For Tough Times - IATA

UK government cuts tax on flights from Northern Ireland to protect aviation industry

And if they can do this in Northern Ireland, why not in other areas where aviation jobs are under threat?

EasyJet predicts record profits

Travelex profits expected to increase

United Pilots Take Legal Action To Stop Merger Integration With Continental

UK government will oppose EU's "Robin Hood Tax" on banks

As if we didn't need more proof that the ConDems care more about bankers' bonuses than poverty

4,000 Australian ground staff at Qantas to strike

Unite lobbies Labour to oppose closure of Agricultural Wages Board

American who abused BA staff on flight to Heathrow is jailed for 3 months

Menzies in Health and Safety row over handling of baby buggies in Terminal 1

Qantas and Philippine Airlines workers escalate disputes against outsourcing

Airline CO2 emission limits will be published by EU on Monday

Air Canada workers in CAW win ruling from arbitrator to save final salary pension scheme

Well done CAW. Bosses and the UK government should take note that workers will put up a very tough fight against anyone who tries to take away their pensions.

Pension talks between TUC and government stall - public sector general strike looms closer

Teachers from England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales unite against pension cuts

BA buys Heathrow slots from BMI

IAG expands Spanish engineering base to carry out maintenance for other airlines

This development has been anticipated for some time. International Airlines Group, which intends to expand to include additional airlines is expanding its capabilities to carry out servicing and upgrade work on its own fleet and offer to carry out work for other airlines.

However, exactly where this leaves up to 4,000 BA aircraft engineers at Heathrow is unclear. It seems unlikely that IAG will invest in developing engineering capacity at two airports in western Europe, though additional facilities in South America and Asia are not out of the question.

The Heathrow based engineers will have very real concerns that their facility will be scaled down and that jobs are at risk. If jobs are lost, local councils will have to take some of the blame for failing to support planning applications for new buildings and facilities, such as a maintenance hanger for the new A380s.

23rd September 2011

Heathrow Falls Behind Rival European Airports

A report released today has confirmed an assessment made by the HLC two days ago that capacity problems at Heathrow (and other London airports) are hampering the UK from increasing its trade with emerging markets with more rapid growth than Britain.

Skyport - Heathrow capacity constraints hit UK economy

22nd September 2011 

Tory solution to the damage caused by 3 decades of privatisation - More Privatisation

Ryanair may sell Aer Lingus stake

Ryanair, which holds a 30% stake in Aer Lingus has stated that it is considering selling its shares in its rival. There appear to be several reasons behind this. Firstly, the OFT has reopened an investigation into whether Ryanair's ownership of such a large proportion of the shares in Aer Lingus is reducing competition and therefore choice for passengers. Secondly, Michael O' Leary has indicated that he does not want to accept any responsibility for liabilities in the pension scheme of Aer Lingus employees. And thirdly, Ryanair is not being allowed to dominate the board of directors, a situation that is unlikely to change now that the OFT is investigating, so it seems improbable that Ryanair will be allowed to buy any of the Irish government's 25% shareholding if it put up for sale as predicted.

The question remains as to who would buy Ryanair's 30% stake and if this party would also be buying the government's 25% to give them a controlling interest - and if so, what does the future hold for Ireland's national airline and its employees?

22nd September 2011

Pilots win landmark holiday pay ruling

Police continue appeal for witnesses after Heathrow car crash

If anyone witnessed an accident on the Western Perimeter Road near Control Post 19 on September the 6th at about 09.30, could they please contact the police.

More mergers of European airlines predicted

Voting system under discussion at Labour Party conference. What next for unions?

Among the issues being debated is whether Labour "supporters" should be allowed to vote on party matters. This is a rather strange idea and it is uncertain how it would be managed so that Tory voters would not be able to register and influence Labour poicy.

The unions will also be asking the Leadership to fully oppose the coalition's programme of cuts, rather than merely demanding that it be scaled back. These cuts are having a serious affect on growth, leaving the UK lagging behind much of the world.

And ultimately, we anticipate that the unions will be asking the leadership, "If the government refuses to engage in meaningful negotiations over public sector pensions, will you support us in a public sector general strike on November 30th?"

21st September 2011

Air Canada, Flight Attendants In Tentative Deal to stop strike at eleventh hour

ConDem cuts failing the economy as public sector borrowing hits record levels

Banks reluctance to lend to airlines for purchase of new aircraft may slow aviation recovery

MPs fear that Air Passenger Duty make make flying unaffordable for poorer families

Air Canada Talks Break Off, Strike Looms

Unions unite for NHS SOS

EU aviation carbon trading costs assessed - BA bill expected to be @ 50 million euros

Airlines Warn Of Trade Row Over EU Carbon Plan

Qantas ground staff strike - airline to cancel or delay over 50 flights

Qantas Grounds Planes As Staff Strike

Southampton social care workers call more strikes

Council workers win victories in Portsmouth and Plymouth

Public sector general strike - Unions ballot millions to take on the Tory cuts

TUC calls for public sector-wide action on 30 November

BAA report says Heathrow falling further behind competitors

Various reports suggest that restrictions on development and expansion will mean that Heathrow will be unable to fully take advantage of the emerging markets in the BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India and China). In particular, rapid development of Chinese aviation could see at least one airport overtake Heathrow as the top airport for international air travel within less than 5 years.

UK politicians should be concerned that with insufficient runway and slot capacity at London airports that trade generated from these new markets will have no choice but to use other hubs such as Paris, Amsterdam, Frankfurt, Dubai and Abu Dhabi - where building restrictions and costs are less prohibitive. Unite, BAA and major British airlines have long argued that failure to allow investment in civil aviation capacity in the UK could damage our national economy and ultimately damage London's status as a major international business centre.

20th September 2011

IAG hires JP Morgan to advise on bid for TAP

Willie Walsh rules out Aer Lingus bid, but confirms IAG interest in BMI and TAP

Osborne tells chums: Unions will ruin country

No, George - ruining the country is what you're doing.

Tory MPs disrupt Asbstos Victims Support Forum committee on legal aid

BAA Seeks Judicial Review On Airport Sales

Green campaigners in court claiming nearly 30,000 UK deaths a year due to air pollution

US Airlines Say New Pilot Fatigue Regulations Would Cost Jobs

Logic says that it would actually require the airlines to recruit more pilots and so create jobs (but cost them money)

Cargo association urges EU emissions legislation rethink

Air France-KLM Orders 25 Airbus and 25 Boeing Jets

This purchase involves a substantial amount of politics. Please read the article for full details. Air France disputes the Airbus explanation of the reasons for a 2009 crash - and it seems as though it was inclined to boycott Airbus and buy Boeing. However, there also seems to have been pressure on the company from politicians to buy Airbus to protect French jobs. If such protectionism is in fact legal in Europe - then why are thousands of jobs being lost at the Derbyshire trainmaker Bombardier following the Thameslink contract being given to Siemans?

And how is Air France-KLM able to afford billions on aircraft at the same time as announcing a major cost cutting exercise?

17th September 2011

Ryanair demands it is exempt from liability for Aer Lingus staff pension fund

BA pilots may win holiday pay case

If the UK Supreme Court upholds this European ruling, BA may have to increase the rate at which it pays (the statutory minimum) holiday pay for up to 12,000 pilots and cabin crew. The European judgement appears to state that annual leave can not be paid at just a basic rate, where worked time is paid at basic rate plus other benefits.

17th September 2011

Aviation unions urged to speak out for dismissed Gulf Air workers

15 Arab trade unions set up forum to promote workers rights and social justice

Janine Hadley, Ryanair Passenger, Threatened With Arrest

Shocked MPs told electoral plan could remove 10 million Labour voters

BALPA claims pilots are being forced to register as self-employed

Unions call 'national day of action' over pensions

It is unfortunate that the trade unions have had to take such action to get the attention of the coalition government, but it is welcome that Britain's biggest unions have decided to make a stand together against the ConDem's attacks on public sector workers.

Government policies are not working to bring us out of recession. Unemployment continues to rise, hitting a record for 23 years, last seen under Margaret Thatcher - and driven by job cuts in the public sector. Women and young people are especially affected by these cuts, but in some areas such as the north east, unemployment is running at 30%. This country needs money invested in jobs, as pointed out today by Labour Shadow Minister Angela Eagle.

Despite the banks role in causing the recession, this government sees no urgency in reforming the banking system. Proposals to separate retail and investment banking will not be fully in place till 2019. Meanwhile there has been little restraint on bankers' bonuses - and the failure to tax these bonuses is costing the treasury an estimated £2 billion - money that is urgently needed elsewhere to maintain public services.

Despite the term "Day of Action", which is scheduled for Novemeber 30th, it is clear that if the government continues to ignore the grievances of the public sector, there may be a series of strikes. And there is good reason to believe that the attacks on public sector pensions are political rather than economic, as the government's own study has said that these pensions are "not unaffordable".

If the coalition fails to enter into genuine and meaningful negotiations with the unions, we can only hope that Mr. Miliband gives his full support to those workers who will have to take action to fight for their futures.

Shadow Treasuy Minister Angela Eagle tells government to negotiate with unions

TUC statement on pensions

'Terrible' jobs figures show government policies are not working

Should to shoulder - unions make their stand

14th September 2011

BAA passengers up 0.2%; record August for Heathrow

Heathrow records busiest ever August

Unions blame government contempt for H&S for 16% rise in workplace deaths

Southampton council workers vote for more strikes

Courageous workers at Southampton Council have voted to continue their strike in the face of a threat that every one of them might be sacked. The Tory council has attempted to carry out a savage attack on the contracts of its employees. But the spirit of these workers is an example to us all. Last week the HLC agreed that we would support the Southampton workers in any way that we reasonably could and recommended that airport branches send messages of solidarity and if funds permitted, donations to our fellow trade unionists.

14th September 2011 

Celebrities perform at BA's hangar tour

Miliband slammed for feeble position at TUC conference 

Labour leader Ed Miliband received a mixed reception at the TUC conference. Despite the fact that it was the trade unions whose votes took Mr. Miliband to the position of leader of the Labour Party, there are serious questions being asked as to whether he is providing enough support to the unions to challenge the coalition's programme of cuts.

Not-so Red Ed Miliband is no help to unions

13th September 2011

Len McCluskey's TUC speech

BA launches electric staff bus service from T5 to Waterside

Air Canada Flight Attendants Could Strike Next Week

Unions planning 'series of national strikes'

The accuracy of this BBC report has not yet been confirned

Jon Snow asks minister why UK has not prosecuted a single banker

TUC delegates plan joint action to challenge government cuts

IAG may bid to buy bmi from Lufthansa

International Airlines Group, the company fromed by the merger of British Airways and Iberia, has expressed an interest in buying bmi from Lufthansa. However, should this purchase take place, the futute of bmi and its employees is rather less clear. IAG will see commercial value in removing one of its rivals, while acquiring the 11% of runway slots at Heathrow that are currently held by bmi. It seems likely that any such transfer would not protect a substantial proportion of the jobs of those currently working for bmi. From the passengers' perspective, this would further limit their choice of carriers.

The HLC finds this development interesting, but we have major concerns over the possible consequences for workers and passengers alike.

13th September 2011

Unions at TUC conference to call for strikes at conference over pension reforms

Unions condemn Tory "think tank" demand for 400,000 public sector job cuts

Lufthansa A380s banned from Delhi in response to Star Alliance rejection of Air India

Unite chief Len McCluskey in 'civil disobedience' call

1 minute video on the cuts for dummies

Lufthansa Group may sell bmi

Death of teacher from asbestos exposure highlights risks to all of us

Asbestos was used in many buildings constructed between the 1950s and 1990s, yet despite its risks to health being known long before, it was only banned in 1997. Around 3,000 deaths are acknowledged to occur every year in the UK from occupational exposure to asbestos that may have occurred decades earlier. But most workers are completely ignorant of whether the buildings they work in contain asbestos.

Around the world the situation is even worse. Some countries, such as Canada are major exporters of asbestos to developing countries that often do not have or enforce safety training for those that need to work with the material. There have been calls for a total UN ban on exporting asbestos, but so far without success.

But even in the UK, asbestos is still the biggest killer in the workplace by far. When will the HSE prosecute directors who knew of the dangers of this material before they ordered workers to handle it? When will we we see a single senior company official sent to prison for causing the death of an employee because profits were put before people?

8th september 2011

Airlines “lose quarter of value”

Summary of HLC meeting - 6th September 2011

Women's unemployment will rise as public sector job cuts kick in

Police ask for witnesses to crash near Terminal 5 this morning

If you were on the Western perimeter road near T5 this morning (September 6th) around 10.10 and witnessed anything that may have contributed to a road accident that took place at this time, could you please contact them.

Unite refutes Department of Health "spin" on NHS bill

TUC - "NHS Bill is 'toxic cocktail of competition, markets and cuts'"

Tata Bids For Lufthansa IT Unit - Report

Candidates for buying Madrid and Barcelona airports are announced

Next HLC meeting is between 10 and 2, 6th of September 2011 at the Unite office, Bath Rd

Any Unite members with a Heathrow connection and prepared to get involved in our mutual support network are welcome to attend. Please email our secretary at for more details.

Air France-KLM To Unveil New Cost Cuts – Report

As predicted by the HLC three days ago, Air France-KLM are believed to be about to announce a major drive to cut costs. The company is scheduled to meet union representatives on Monday, where it is expected that the scale and nature of these cuts are likely to be revealed.  

Air France Eyes EUR€800 Mln Savings - Report

6th September 2011

Heathrow trial for ‘privacy friendly’ body scanners

Top British fat cats treble average bonuses

Well, perhaps we're not all in this together.

Plans for £500m Welsh train link to Heathrow

IAG traffic up 2.2%; premium traffic up 8.7%

More than 500 GPs sign petition calling for NHS bill to be withdrawn

Labour rallies troops to halt NHS sell-off

IMF calls on the US and Europe to abandon fiscal austerity and switch to stimulus

Er... we've been saying exactly the same thing since last year. Why has it taken the International Monetary Fund so long to come to the same conclusion? Oh yes - all those rich people demanding lower taxes...

IMF boss repeats call for Plan B

5th September 2011

Air France-KLM stock falls 52% in one year making it the worst performer on Paris SBF 120

The HLC fears that front line staff may be made to pay the price for poor commercial decisions at management and director level in this aviation giant.

3rd September 2011

Vince Cable warns of 'major battle' over Heathrow aircraft noise

Readers should mote that a main reason that Mr. Cable is taking such a strong position on aircraft noise is that his constituency is Twickenham, which suffers disturbance from some Heathrow flights. Twickenham was held by the Consevatives prior to his election. Should Mr. Cable not take this position, it is extremely likely that he would lose his seat - though it certainly seems possible that this may happen anyway because of the many promises in the LibDem manifesto that have been broken since joining the coalition.

As business secretary, it is almost certain that Mr. Cable would acknowledge that Heathrow is a major contributor to the UK economy by providing rapid access to the City of London and the banks, stock exchange and insurance that are the foundation of Britain's invisible exports.

Failure to invest in UK aviation - and in particular supporting hub operations in London could see a reduction in the number of routes, frequency of flights and ultimately the relocation of UK business to overseas. It would probably not be unfair to say that many residents of Twickenham will work in London companies whose prosperity is directly linked to the international access provided by Heathrow and may suffer if this comes to pass.

UK govt to trial mixed-mode operations at Heathrow

3rd September 2011

Victory for human rights campaigners as RBS cuts ties with cluster bomb firms

We reported last week on the unsavory connections between RBS and arms manufacturers who produce cluster bombs, which have resulted in thousands of civilian casualties, many of whom are children who have lost limbs or been maimed in other ways. Over 10,000 people joined Amnesty International's campaign and wrote directly to RBS - showing the power and effectiveness of email campaigns. 

If only enough people now take ownership of the fight to save our NHS, perhaps this battle can also be won.

3rd September 2011 

Portugal Woos Lufthansa As Buyer For TAP

BMA letter calls for halt to NHS bill

This is the last chance to ask your MP to vote against the NHS bill. By the end of the week we could see all our treasured public health services on eBay. Some very rich companies stand to make billions (out of the money we put into the treasury as taxpayers) if this bill goes through. Doctors, Nurses, patients and the public in general think this is a bad idea - and even David Cameron told us (lied) that he would not make top down changes to the NHS. Write to your MP now - and maybe you won't have to go private to get treatment you've already paid for through your National Insurance when you need it.

Write to your MP by clicking this link and entering your post code on the right. Don't worry about fancy titles or language. "Dear Peter" or "Dear Ms. Bloggs, I'm really worried about this NHS bill and will you please vote to keep our health service public?" is fine. Stop the sell off NOW - or don't complain when BUPA or whoever is running your local hospital tells you that your hip replacement can only be done if you pay cash up front.

David Cameron puts NHS up 'For sale'

All out for the NHS big weekend

3rd September 2011

Watchdog features rogue Heathrow parking company

If you use BBC iPlayer and have an hour to spare, you can watch the whole program if you click on the link below before 21.00 on the 9th of September.

Watchdog - September 1st 2011

London airports to hit full capacity by 2030

The HLC ran this story a week ago, but this is Skyport's version.

Government to create emergency powers to move "terror suspects" out of own homes

This is scary stuff. What will it take to see these powers used? One anonymous tip off from someone who holds a grudge against you? Information extracted under torture by the CIA (which is known to be highly unreliable)? Whatever happened to the idea that this is a free country and that everyone is innocent until found guilty in a court of law?

OFT re-opens investigation into Ryanair's stake in Aer Lingus

Apparently owning a 30% stake in your main competitor might reduce choice for the customer after all.

Migrant domestic workers rally to prevent a return to domestic slavery in the UK

IATA - Passenger traffic up, but freight slightly down in air transport sector

New claims that UK & Irish airports were used for CIA torture flights in rendition program

1,500 documents have been presented in a US court that assert that Glasgow, Edinburgh, Luton and Shannon airports were among those used by contractors to the CIA to transport suspects who had been kidnapped and were due to be subjected to "enhanced interrogation techniques" or torture. The extraordinary rendition program, which was introduced by the US in the 1990s has been widely condemned by civil rights campaigners.

The CIA has claimed that the program has now been terminated, but the revelation that British civilian airports were used to take suspects who had not been charged of any crime out of US and EU juristriction will focus attention on the supposed "special relationship" and what, if anything the UK is gaining from the arrangement.

2nd September 2011

TUC - "Dust level limits must be reduced to protect workplace health"

VIDEO: Boeing completes first flights of Cargolux 747-8F and ANA's 787

Strong bookings allow Aer Lingus to predict full year profit

Stock market fall may point to "double-dip recession" for global economy

For a change, the HLC is not pointing its finger at David Cameron on this one. The US economy is a key factor, together with the Republicans attacking every move that President Obama makes and the loss of America's Triple-A rating, The Eurozone, Japan and the faltering BRIC economies in the developing world are all key elements.

But underlying all these is a strategy by global leaders based on austerity rather than using stimulus to create jobs. A public with less money has predictably responded by spending less. As demand falls, there are further cuts in manufacturing industry, which reduces tax revenues and the number of people in work - which reduces the amount they have to spend and so on. All of which was predicted by many economists two years ago.

1st September 2011

BA backs UK Carbon Reporting Framework to reduce emissions

How the latest eligibility test for disability benefits run by ATOS for the government actually works

Christian Right demands legal authority to counsel women contemplating abortion

This proposal, which was entered as an amendment to a government bill by Tory MP Nadine Dorries (the one that said children should just say "no" to abusers) is seen by many as an attack on the basic right of a women to choose whether or not she will carry a foetus till term. The conservative Christian group LIFE, which opposes termination after any period is seeking to replace counselling groups such as Marie Stopes so that they can advise women with unwanted pregnancies against termination. LIFE has already managed to replace the British Pregnacy Advisory Service on a key government advisory body.

The church (of any religion) should not be allowed to demand that it has access to women who are contemplating one of the most difficult decisions that they will ever make. Neither should the church have special access to government. Senior clergy have already managed to hold undue influence on politics through their presence in the House of Lords. Counselling should be objective and the mother's interest should be central to all advice - not a religious doctrine that she may not share.

If you have strong feelings on this issue, please read the articles in the links and contact your MP before the Health and Social Care Bill goes to parliament for its 3rd reading next week. In fact, please contact your MP anyway at Find Your MP (enter your postcode on the right hand side) as this is the bill that is trying to sell off our NHS to the private sector.

Downing Street forces U-turn on Nadine Dorries abortion proposals

1st September 2011

Heathrow farm open day on Setember 3rd - Supporting special needs

Russia to halve training time for airline pilots

We can only hope that the European and American safety authorites tell Russia that planes flown by half trained pilots will not be welcome in their airspace. We anticipate a strong response from the joint aviation trade unions on this topic.

1st September

List of World's Safest Airlines shows strong unions make for safer travel

Unite criticises the HSE’s draft manufacturing strategy for weakened H&S protection

Less Health ans Safety will lead to more people dying, more people being crippled by accidents and more people living in daily pain from strain injuries. More grieving relatives, more people having to take medical retirement and more people on disability benefits and clogging up a cut down National Health Service with health problems that should never have happened in the first place. All this - just to keep a few cowboy employers happy? The HLC says NO WAY to cuts in Health and Safety.

1st September 2011

TUC plans mass anti-cuts rally at Tory conference

The march will start at 12 noon on October the 2nd in Liverpool Road, Manchester. More details to follow.