February 2012 (early)

Schiphol Partly Evacuated On Bomb Threat


Amnesty International - Wanted: A bulletproof global Arms Trade Treaty

Amnesty today launched a campaign for a binding global treaty on arms trading. Britain is still one of the biggest arms dealers, but has a less than perfect record in controlling who ends up with the weapons we sell. Arms fairs in the UK have recently been reported for advertising items used for torture.

Export licences have been given to sell to counties with poor human rights records and our weapons continue to end up in the hands of criminals and terrorists. Civilians, especially children continue to be the main victims of many types of weapons, such as cluster bombs - which are often effectively just land mines dropped from aircraft that can lie unnoticed for years until some innocent person is maimed.

13th February 2012


Cathay January Cargo Down 19.5 Percent

The air cargo sector continues to struggle with high fuel costs and customers with tight budgets due to austerity measures.

13th February 2012


HSE - How the rules will change on April 6th for reporting injuries, disease and near misses


BA Seeks European Approval To Buy bmi


The last Briton in Guantanamo

Human rights campaigners across the world will tomorrow (Tuesday 14th) mark the 10th anniversary of the extraordinary rendition of Shaker Aamer to Guantanamo. His rendition has been described as illegal and Mr. Aamer states that he has been and continues to be tortured, both physically and mentally.

Many people feel that the UK's failure to address the abuse of Mr. Aamer's human rights makes it much harder to demand other countries improve the way they treat their citizens.

13th February 2012


Heathrow Losing China Traffic To Rivals - BAA

BAA's CEO warns that the government's decision to block Heathrow's growth is costing the UK dearly as it cannot take advantage of a growth in China's international trade.

13th February 2012


More private sector redundancies on the way, finds CIPD

The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, in a survey of 1,000 employers reports that far more bosses are planning to make workers redundant than to hire extra staff in the coming months. This gloomy news suggests that the government's prediction that private sector job creation will replace the estimated one and a half million job losses linked to the public sector was massively wrong.

Unlike the USA, which has invested heavily in job creation, the UK faces rising unemployment, lower revenue from income tax and slipping further down the table that lists national growth.

13th February 2012


EU Resolute On CO2 Emissions Scheme


Ryanair hikes baggage charges in time for family summer holidays


Unite Equalities Newsletter for the London Eastern region

Download the latest Unite newsletter on equalities issues in the London and Eastern region.


Human rights abuses could be covered up under new justice bill proposals

A report from the Guardian says that the government could use the Justice Bill to prevent open investigation into allegations of involvement in torture and rendition.

12th February 2012


Daily Mail attacks NHS reforms showing "conflict of interest" for bill's advisor

Mr. Cameron - surely you should take notice now? When the Daily Mail (a true blue newspaper if ever there was one) starts to highlight an unhealthy relationship between a key advisor on the NHS Reform Bill wining and dining the NHS regulator, it is clearly time to change course. If even the right wing media is attacking the bill, then your own credibility is on the line if you pursue this folly any further.

Teach yourself Lansley - A guide to what he really means when he talks about the NHS

12th February 2012


Heathrow cargo security building closes after nearly three decades


Lufthansa To 'Rebuild' By Cutting Costs

Lufthansa has announced a major cost cutting exercise, which is likely to have a massive impact on its 120,000 staff. The company says that the cuts are necessary to make 9 million euros available for investment.

11th February 2012


Government's Air India bailout could feed ALL hungry Indians for a year


Chancellor held meetings with backers of Thames airport last summer

It has been reported that the Chancellor held a series of "private" meetings with backers of a proposed airport in the Thames Estuary over a period of four months last year. The government is refusing to reveal what was discussed at these meetings, leaving concern that objectors to the plan would not have a say before key decisions are made.

In the eventuality (unlikely, we believe) of Boris Island becoming a reality, many tens of thousands of jobs at Heathrow and in West London would be lost.

11th February 2012


Air Canada Union Reaches Tentative Deal


Public sector outsourcing is a mess – and it’s the taxpayer picking up the tab


Frankfurt Airport Ground Staff Threaten Strike

Airport operator Fraport faces a strike from ground handlers after it rejected proposals from a mediator in talks over pay. Any strike by the union GdF could take place as early as Thursday (February 16th).

10th February 2012


Firefighters join the big fightback for decent public sector pensions


Lansley defends NHS bill after it is attacked by government's own ministers

Look Left – Beginning of the end of the NHS bill?

Top Tories: Health Bill is 'Cameron's poll tax'


Etihad Interested In Stake in Aer Lingus

Following a trend started by Qatar Airways and Emirates for middle-eastern airlines to extend their business in Europe, Ethiad has expressed an interest in buying a 25% stake in Aer Lingus.

10th February 2012


Heathrow "unaffected" after light snow showers


Anger at Barclays £1.5 billion bonus payout after thousands of staff laid off


Hochtief Examines Options On Budapest Airport After Malev Collapse

Hochtief, which bought BAA's stake in Budapest Airport is considering making a claim against the Hungarian government after the collapse of the national airline substantially reduced traffic. Malev was responsible for 40% of the airport's business - and though other carriers have taken up a number of the routes that the airline flew, this will not fully replace the revenue that Malev provided.

A compensation clause could see the Hungarian government with a liability of up to 1.5 billion euros, but it has already hinted that it will be looking to negotiate a less severe penalty payment.

10th February 2012


TUC - EU must support workers' rights if it wants to keep their support


Air France Strike Enters Final Day

French pilots may extend 4 day strike in protest of tougher union laws


American Airlines Creditors Want To Talk Merger

American Airlines, which is currently under bankruptcy protection may look to merging with another airline to achieve the cost savings that its creditors demand. US Airlines and Delta are two of the names that are in the frame. 

There will also be speculation that IAG - the parent of BA and Iberia, which also has close links with American may take an interest if it can deal with the US regulator's concerns over foreign ownership.

9th February 2012


Strike action planned in Sweden cabin crew dispute


Iberia to join BA at Heathrow Terminal 5


Unite to ballot members on NHS pensions’ offer

Unite is to hold a consultative ballot of its 100,000 members in the health service over their pensions. The union is recommending rejection of the government's offer. If members vote "No" then a ballot for industrial action could follow unless the offer is substantially improved.

PCS has already nominated March 28th for a strike over public sector pensions, but it is unclear if other unions would be ready to carry out a second general strike by this date.

9th February 2012


Don’t believe the spin – the health reforms are Cameron’s just as much as Lansley’s


Airlines Seek Swift End To EU CO2 Row

EU could allow foreign airlines to opt out of ETS


Labour MP demands action on asbestos in schools

Following the revelation that over 140 teachers have died from disease related to asbestos, which is found in 75% of our schools, Labour MP, Ian Lavery has called for the government to act to protect staff and children in educational establishments. The actual figure for those who have developed chronic health problems as a result of exposure to asbestos in schools is almost certainly much higher, with tens if not hundreds of thousands of people at risk.

9th February 2012


Heathrow Express staff to strike after driver and union rep sacked

Threat of strike looms on the Heathrow Express


Cuba blockade hits 50th year


Airbus to inspect all A380 superjumbos for wing cracks

Following the discovery of 38 cracks in on one of Qantas's Airbus A380s, the manufacturer has decided to carry out checks on all aircraft of the type.

8th February 2012


Women facing pensions lock-out, says TUC

Women hit by income bar


Unite backs further action over civil service pensions


Spanair workers reject offer of employment from Ryanair

Spanair have rejected a proposal from Michael O' Leary to transfer to Ryanair after he insisted that they pay tax in Ireland and they open up bank accounts in Gibraltar to collect their wages. SAS was the owner of Spanair prior to its collapse and cite the losses at the airline as one of the reasons that it is cutting 300 jobs and attempting to dissolve collective agreements with its unions.

SAS Posts 2011 Loss, Speeds Up Cost Cuts

8th February 2012


Government defeat in Lords over Health and Social Care Bill

Sadly, not a complete rejection of the bill, but another amendment. The House of Lords has now forced over 130 amendments to the government's contraversial Health and Social Care Bill. The latest amendment related to provisions for mental health care. Group after group of medical professionals have condemned the bill as highly damaging to patient care.

Sign the petition. Kill the Bill

Unite - Pressure mounts as health visitors voice their opposition to the health bill

Does anyone like Lansley's health Bill?

8th February 2012


Israel Strike Shuts Airports On Wednesday

Strike shuts down Israel


Transport unions step up fight for seafarers' rights


US Senate Approves Contraversial Sweeping Aviation Bill

The US Senate has passed a major bill to fund its Federal Aviation system, which includes air traffic control. However, as part of the deal to get this funding - an agreement has been made that will curb trade union rights within the US aviation industry. This is likely to mean that any union members who do not vote in industrial action ballots will be counted as "No" votes. The unions have unsurprisingly condemned the bill.

The US Congress has also issued a statement condemning the EU Emissions Trading Scheme.

7th February 2012


Ken vows to reverse Boris’s police cuts and “make the streets safer”


Labour MP Jeremy Corbyn interview - "A generation betrayed"


China To Defend Against EU Emissions Plan

China has hinted that it will respond to the EU's ETS with some form of trade sanction against Europe, though what form this might take has yet to be announced.


Air France-KLM January Pax Up, Cargo Down


Air France Cancels Up to Half Of Flights as Workers Protest Proposed Rules for Strikes

Up to 30% of Air France flights have been cancelled today. This is the first in a four day strike in protest against a French government plan to make it harder for unions to carry out strike action and to reduce the effect of any industrial action on their employers.

Air France Cancels Flights As Pilots Strike

7th February 2012


TUC - UK opt-out from Robin Hood Tax could cost taxpayers £21 billion

TUC - Ending corporation tax relief for big bank bonuses could raise £1.7bn a year


The shocking effect of Gove’s EMA axe: Youngsters skipping food to get to college


Heathrow ‘will always struggle with snow’


Downing Street - "Health Secretary should be taken out and shot"

Following a Downing Street source criticising the Health Secretary, Andrew Lansley, the Prime Minister has said that he has his full support. We should of course remember that he said the same of at least two of his former cabinet ministers, who shortly afterwards had to fall on their swords. 

Meanwhile, Unite has asked as many activists as possible to join them in a lobby of parliament on Wednesday, March 7th to demand that the NHS be saved. The lobby will take place between 18.00 and 19.30 , Details at the Unite website here .

Miliband - NHS plan will cost thousands of nurses jobs and damage patient care

Downing Street denies that Cameron wants Health Secretary 'taken out and shot' over NHS reforms

Plans for NHS in England an unholy mess, say journals

7th February 2012


'Capacity crunch' harms Heathrow's growth


Tribunal overturns sacking of union chair at Kenyan Airways


China Bans Airlines From Joining EU Emissions Trading Scheme

The Chinese government has banned its airlines from joining the Emissions Trading Scheme. It remains to be seen whether the EU will fine the airlines the full amount that the scheme allows and risk starting a trade war with potentially the biggest market for European goods. But if the EU does not take action on China, how will it enforce the scheme on the US and other non-European airlines? And how will it justify to the EU member states a tax that could make their national airlines uncompetitive with the rest of the world?

50 European airports make carbon reduction pledge

6th February 2012


Nearly Half of Heathrow flights cancelled on Sunday due to snow

Weather chaos: Heathrow can't cope in snow, admits owner


Minister for disabled people: there is no shortage of jobs

Maria Miller, the Minister for Disabled People has angered the groups she is meant to be representing by claiming that there are plenty of jobs that they could do, if only they would make the effort. This is the same old Tory line that unemployment only exists because of "lazy benefit scroungers", which is so often the propaganda of the right-wing press.

Perhaps if the government actually created some jobs and strenthened disability discrimination law to get better adjustments made at work, disabled people might be in a position to prove the government wrong.

Most people want to work. But an estimated 80% of employers would avoid taking on a disabled person if they could - something made easier for unethical bosses when there are so many applicants for every job. The government needs to support disabled people and get tough on employers that will not make the adjustments that are needed to stop millions of people being effectively denied the opportunity of a job - not pretend that the fault lies with the disabled themselves. 

6th February 2012


Air hostesses furious after being issued new uniforms and warned ‘not to get any fatter’


Qantas Sees Threat From Planned Law Changes

Qantas CEO, Alan Joyce has condemned a proposed Australian law, which would prevent his airline moving thousands of jobs to Asia to take advantage of lower wage rates. Unions would broadly support the law change to protect Australian jobs, wages and conditions.

6th February 2012


Proposal to use Northolt as Heathrow satellite airport claimed to be "unfeasible"


TUC - Ending corporation tax relief for big bank bonuses could raise £1.7bn a year


Enquiry over "relaxed" Heathrow border controls increases Olympic queues risk

Plans to introduce automatic fingerprint and facial recognition systems at the UK borders have been delayed by the enquiry over allegations that checks were relaxed at busy times last summer. There is now some doubt over whether the system will be fully ready in time for the 2012 Olympics.

6th February 2012


NHS reforms: the bill that will cost us dear

Labour: '3 months to save our NHS'


A third of Heathrow flights cancelled for Sunday due to weather

Check which flights are affected here

Flights From Heathrow Hit By Cold Weather


Think Left - The fraud at the heart of our banking system


Kingfisher's Oneworld Membership Is Put On Hold

Kingfisher's hope to become the first Indian airline to join Oneworld has been put on hold while it seeks a refinancing package that allows it to run a full schedule of operations.

5th February 2012


Ofsted publishes Stoke Newington initiative to stop homophobic school bullying


Workers Uniting protests at the killing of Colombian trade unionists


French airline workers to strike for four days

The French pilots' union SNPL has called for a 4 day strike from 6th February to 9th February. The strike is in response to the announcement by the government that a new anti-union law will require 48 hours notice of a strike.

Despite the new law being less restrictive than that in the UK, SNPL says that this could be a breach of their human rights by limiting their right to strike.

4th February 2012 


Industrial dispute in the Swedish civil aviation (Unionen)

Swedish union Unionen, which represents cabin crew in 18 airlines operating in the country has announced a program of industrial action after two year of talks have failed to reach an agreement on working hours and scheduling.

4th February 2012


IAG January Traffic Rose By 1.1 Percent


GPs urge PM: Scrap Health Bill before it's too late

The Royal College of General Practioners, which represents 44,000 GPs has called on the government to scrap its NHS reforms before patient care is permanently damaged. The college says that Andrew Lansley has failed to address the concerns that doctors have raised over the 18 months since he propsed the reforms. The Chartered Society of Physiotherapy also voted to reject the reforms. 

Critics of the NHS reforms, which rely heavily on privatisation, point to the US healthcare system, which costs twice as much to run for a less comprehensive service. Comparisons have been made with the privatisation of British Rail, which now costs the taxpayer more in subsidies that it did under public ownership, despite the rising cost of fares.

The coalition reforms have now been condemned by nearly every major body of health professionals and patient groups. We say that it is time to Kill the Bill.

Physiotherapists join GPs in rejecting Lansley reforms.

4th February 2012


Hungary’s Malev stops flying; financial situation ‘unsustainable’

Following a number of planes belonging to Hungary's national airline being impounded for unpaid bills, Malev has ceased operations. Ryanair is looking to take advantage of the crisis at Malev by increasing the number of flights it operates to Budapest airport.

Ryanair To Launch 26 Routes From Budapest

4th February 2012


India And EU Try To Break Logjam Over Emissions Trading Scheme


Heathrow runway homes face uncertain future


Asbestos - The hidden time bomb in our schools

A cross party committee of MPs on Occupational Health and Safety has revealed that asbestos in schools has led to the death of at least 140 teachers and a number of other staff. The number of pupils who may have been affected or died as a result of asbestos in schools is unknown.

2nd February 2012


US unions demand new aviation safety law

American aviation unions claim that the US is passing anti-union legislation that seriously risks aircraft and passenger safety. The new law could make it impossible for unions to raise safety issues by denying them recognition, training and facility time.

2nd February 2012


Financial Services Authority asks for £78m more in funding this year

The FSA, which regulates banks and other organisations that provide financial services has asked the government to provide an extra £78 million to allow it to perform its function effectively. The 16% rise in funding would be partly used to provide updated computer systems.

The FSA was widely criticised for failing to prevent high risk investments by the banks - which was a major contributor to the global recession. Many feel that the FSA has failed to tackle the problem of investment bankers continuing their practices, for fear of being accused of stifling growth.

2nd February 2012


MPs call for OFT to investigate BMI takeover by IAG


New European Industrial Workers Federation looms


AMR To Seek End To Worker Pensions At American Airlines

American Airlines to cut 13,000 jobs


Activists protest at archbishop's stance on same sex marriages

The Archbishop of York has become the focus of civil rights campaigners who want marriage to be equally available to same sex couples as those of mixed sex. The Archbishop had made comments that the Bible should take precedence over equal rights.

2nd February 2012


Everton pitch invader handcuffs himself to goalpost in protest against Ryanair


2011 Ends On Positive Note For Air Travel

IATA's figures for 2011 show that passenger traffic rose 6.4% while cargo fell by 0.8% in December. Predictions for 2012 are less optimistic, with Hungary's Malev, several Indian carriers and American Airlines among those that are struggling to survive. The rise in Air Passenger Duty and the introduction of the Emissions Trading Scheme in Europe will not help UK airlines to compete in these difficult market conditions.

Lufthansa To Cut Costs Over Three Years

TAM To Cut Fleet As Air Traffic Slows

2nd February 2012


US Congress To Oppose EU Emissions Trading Scheme


Stansted sale: BAA loses appeal against ruling


Welfare reforms will penalise the vulnerable and divide society, warns Unite

As the House of Commons votes to reject amendments to the Welfare Reform Bill that were recommended by the House of Lords, critics of the bill say that the government is once again making the poor the scapegoat for a deficit caused by the rich.


Heathrow workers have their say on 'Boris Island'

London business group calls for Heathrow expansion