February 2012 (late)

Poll shows public prefers 3rd runway option at Heathrow to Boris Island

Passenger Traffic Up, Freight Weaker - IATA

Passenger traffic continues to recover, but airfreight is still dropping, in part due to high fuel costs. However, IATA believes that the fall in air cargo is stabilising - though 2012 is expected to be a difficult year for all sectors of civil aviation.

29th February 2012

American Airlines Pilots Fire Back At Company Over Talks On Cuts

AMR Pilot Group Committee Bid On Hold

IAG Profit Up, Cautious On Year Ahead

London 2012: Unite's Olympics strike threat condemned

But before people jump on the bandwagon - perhaps they should consider how much the Olympics has become a corporate circus sponsored by people with questionable ethics. It was recently revealed that Olympic mascots were being manufactured using child labour. Sponsor ATOS has been involved in stripping seriously disabled people of their benefits. Sponsor Dow Chemicals merged with Union Carbide, which caused the Bhopal gas leak that killed between 3,000 and 25,000 people in India. And how many tickets are being denied to genuine sports fans because they have been reserved for corporate interests?

Standing up for working people - Len McCluskey's interview in full

29th February 2012 

Court Blocks Control Tower Strike At Frankfurt

Evicted Occupy LSX protestors relocate to Finsbury Square

Occupy London: What did the St Paul's protest achieve?

EU Will Respond To Airline Carbon Retaliation

The EU states its position should countries refuse to take part in its mandatory Emissions Trading Scheme or respond with trade sanctions against European airlines.

28th February 2012

Barclays Bank told by Treasury to pay £500m avoided tax

As Barclays Bank is ordered to repay £500 million in tax that it avoided, others are asking if this is a stunt by the government to draw attention from its failure to deal with tax avoidance that runs in to the tens or even hundreds of millions. Vodafone alone is estimated to have got out of paying around £8 billion in tax liabilies through a deal with the HMRC.

Don't swallow this whale - What the government isn't telling us about tax avoidance

How Barclays tax avoidance schemes worked

28th February 2012

Activists warn of NHS apocalypse

Keep Our NHS Public warn that privatisation will cost the taxpayer more and deliver the public less if the government's cynical plans in the Health and Social Care Bill are allowed to happen.

28th February 2012

Iberia cancel flights ahead of Wednesday’s strike

Justice under attack

Human rights campaigners and a former senior prosecutor claim that a green paper from Kenneth Clark will make it impossible to hold the government to account over its role in illegal renditions and complicity in the torture of suspects.

28th February 2012 

El Al Trade Union Threatens Strike Over Open Skies

IAG plans emerging markets expansion

IAG has indicated that it will use the slots that it anticipates acquiring from a purchase of bmi to increase its flights to emerging markets. This will include South America, but may also involve the other BRIC countries, Russia, India and China.

However, airports that have been served by bmi, including UK regional airports are likely to suffer a reduced service, which has led to the Scottish National Party raising concerns about IAG's purchase of the slots.

28th February 2012

Aer Lingus Profit Up, But Warns On Fuel Costs

'Why won't they work for nothing?'

Multi-millionaire bosses have difficulty understanding why they shouldn't be provided with free labour instead of creating paid jobs to carry out tasks that generate income for their companies.

US Proposes Tougher Airline Pilot Qualifications

The US has proposed tougher regulations to improve pilot safety, which could involve up to six times the number of hours on a particular type of aircraft before qualification. It is also recommended that there are increased breaks between flights.

These proposals are in stark contrast to the EU and Russia. Europe is planning to reduce the mandatory rest periods between flights, while Russia is considering cutting the number of hours experience required for pilots to qualify to be halved.

Europe's financial problems should not be an excuse to cut corners on safety. Passenger confidence in aviation depends on high standards and good safety records. Any belief that risks are increasing at European airlines will damage reputations and cost millions in revenue for member states.

UK pilots to take dangers of longer flying hours to Justine Greening

Sign the peition on pilot fatigue at www.keepflyingsafe.co.uk/

28th February 2012

Cops bully gay Heathrow police officer

Police clear out Occupy protesters

Bailiffs and police have finally evicted the London Stock Exchange protestors from the grounds of St. Paul's Cathedral, but not before they got their message out to the world about the exploitation of the 99% by the 1%. Alliances have been formed and protestors have become organised. The City is unlikely to have heard the last of the Occupy LSX movement.

28th February 2012

Kingfisher's Problems Pose Dilemma For India

Will India's government risk allegations of corruption by bailing out an airline owned by a billionaire, or let Kingfisher collapse with huge losses to state owned banks that have lent money to the airline?

27th February 2012

India braces for general strike

RMT accuses BAA and Heathrow Express of "plotting to behead the union"

RMT General Secretary Bob Crow's views on the causes of the Heathrow Express strike.

RMT exposes airport union busting operation as strike reduces Heathrow Express to skeleton service

27th February 2012

New Beijing Airport To Be World's Busiest

Mandarins line up to attack health reforms

Senior civil servants are among the latest groups to attack the Health and Social Care Bill.

27th February 2012

National Express Group’s human rights’ policy flawed

The government’s got big plans for workfare – don’t expect them to back down easily

Frankfurt Airport Workers Resume Strike

As talks between Fraport and union GdF fail, further strikes are called as apron workers call for an improved deal as they are asked to take on extra responsibilities.

Fraport Eyes Legal Action Against Strike

27th February 2012

American Airlines wants staff to sign new contracts within weeks

Ed Miliband writes for the Sunday Mirror on disastrous NHS reforms

Nine out of ten members of Royal College of Physicians oppose NHS bill

“A mess… unnecessary… setting the NHS back”: Another attack on the health bill

Lansley's report admits Tory NHS bill could hurt women, the poor & old people more

Record Heathrow passengers in 2011; BAA report lower losses

BAA hits its target for operating profit using the EBITDA calculator (Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation and Amortization) but makes a (reduced) overall loss, in part due to the incorporation of debt from the company's purchase in 2006 into the accounts via a refinancing scheme.

25th February 2012

Department for Work and Pensions report shows benefit fraud levels are very, very low

Despite the hatemongering of certain right wing newspapers, the government's own figures show that only 0.8% of benefit payments are made as a result of fraud. This figure is dwarfed by the billions that go unclaimed by those who are entitled to them. And it should not go without being noted that on average MPs have overclaimed on their expenses by many times the amount of benefit claimants.

So stop blaming the poor, the disabled and the unemployed for the deficit. It's not "snobbish" to say that the world's financial problems should be laid squarely at the door of some very rich and very greedy people, who still have the ear of government while those who suffered as a result are largely being ignored.

25th February 2012

BAA calls for Government rethink on Heathrow third runway

Workfare versus compulsory work: When is it right and wrong to mandate labour?

A report by the excellent Left Foot Forward

New report says the NHS isn't broken - so why are the Tories trying to "fix" it?

Shadow Health Secretary, Andy Burnham continues to demand that the government publishes its risk register, which shows the risks to patient care from changes to the NHS that have so far been identified. The NHS is rated as performing well against comparable networks in other countries, so the Tories are taking a huge risk with their reforms of damaging a system that works, without being able to give any justification for the upheavals that they will cause.

Five things you need to know about the NHS bill

Ed Miliband calls on Lib Dem Lords to join Labour to kill the Health Bill

25th February 2012

Computer 'glitch' causes flight delays at Edinburgh Airport

IAG hits back at Virgin over BMI takeover

Burger King leaves workfare scheme for jobless

Burger King has withdrawn from the government's contraversial workfare scheme, which has been described by critics as "slave labour". Meanwhile, it has been reported that McDonalds and HMV in Oxford Street were forced to close today by protests over their involvement in the scheme.

Right to Work protestors shut McDonalds and HMV on Oxford Street

McDonald's spends £10m of taxpayer's cash from employment scheme without creating a single job

25th February 2012

Doctors consider strike ballot over NHS pension plans

Ken: Boris Island airport would crash West London economy and threaten Heathrow jobs

Ken Livingstone says that Boris Johnson's plan to create an airport in the Thames Estuary would devastate jobs in West London by destroying Heathrow's local economy.

25th February 2012

Saturday game Hyde v Droylsden to be Football v Homophobia event

Aer Lingus Flight Attendants Stand Strong in Face of Management Attacks

£250,000 payout for Air India's former catering boss for overtime and allowances

Unite welcomes commitment to withdraw controversial construction contracts

An attempt by seven of the biggest employers in the construction industry to throw out an agreement with Unite and reduce pay by up to 35% appears to have been defeated after threats of industrial action and challenges in the courts.

25th February 2012

US Considering Options On EU Carbon Law

UK To Auction Extra EU Carbon Permits

Kids forced to sell sex for shelter

As the number of destitute youngsters more than doubles under the Tories, charities ask why the government is not doing more to protect vulnerable young people.

25th February 2012

More staff to guard UK borders during Olympics

The UK Border Agency, which saw staff numbers slashed as part of a cost cutting exercise last year, has since been promised extra resources over the period of peak travel for the 2012 Olympics in London later this year.

25th February 2012

Britain accused of sitting on fence on environment after abstention from Tar Sands vote

The Tories claim to be the "greenest government ever" has once again been shown to be an utter lie after it abstained from a key European vote on the exploitation of tar sands as a source of fuel.

25th February 2012

BA in talks with OFT over price fixing fine

British Airways hopes the OFT will substantially reduce the £121 million fine imposed on it in 2007 for price fixing.

24th February 2012

PM’s policy advisor says ‘fly Virgin not fat cat BA’

China Calls On EU To Drop Airline ETS

Association of European Airlines - ETS Retaliation is not the solution

Unite - Local government ‘no pay rise’ stance reveals the unequal face of Britain

Proof axing EMA has increased the number of NEETS

This article, courtesy of Guardian columnist Polly Toynbee shows how the government's axing of the Education Maintenance Allowance is contributing to even worse youth unemployment.

24th February 2012

ETUC Action Day – February 29th

The European Trades Union Congress calls on activists throughout the EU to demand their governments stop forcing austerity on their citizens and act to create jobs. ETUC believes that austerity measures could drive Europe into a second recession - leaving our economies trailing those nations that have actually chosen to invest.

23rd February 2012

Britain slammed over torture role in rendition

TUC Global - Murder Strikes Guatemalan Banana Workers Union Again

Yet more murders of trade unionists in Central America. Guatemala holds the dubious record of being the second most dangerous place in the world to be a trade unionist, trailing only Columbia.

23rd February 2012

Passengers help British Airways cut fuel emissions

Cameron "Two-faced shameless apologist for City profiteers" after "snobbish" comment

No, Mr. Cameron, it's not "snobbish" to criticise business for dodging its fair share of the tax burden. Nor is it snobbish to have a go at directors who award themselves massive pay rises or bonses while front line staff have pay freezes or sub-inflationary pay rises - if they are not laid off altogether.

You, Mr. Cameron are the snob. You look down on all the unfortunates - those unlucky enough to be unemployed, poor, disabled or working for unethical employers and have the gall to treat us as if we caused the recession. Stop acting as if you believe we're idiots. Stop trying to divide and rule. You lost the moral high ground (if you ever held it) a very long time back.

David Cameron criticises 'snobbish' attacks on business

PM accused of hypocrisy after attacking critics of big business

23rd February 2012

Heathrow Express strike dates announced

RMT has announced two 24 hour strikes and one 48 hour strike following the sacking of a driver and the suspension of a trade union representative.

23rd February 2012

Workfare is not voluntary

Ryanair Threatens To Cut Edinburgh Services With 300 Job Losses

Just as we dismantle our NHS, India is trying to build theirs

This report should be embarassing to the UK government. A country that is home to one third of the world's poor is investing in a public healthcare system based on the NHS, while our own richer economy pretends that this is something that the country cannot afford.

23rd February 2012

BA and UKBA row over Heathrow queues

Guardian report - UK detention of torture victims 'inhumane'

The United Nations refugee chief has attacked Britain's fast track deportation system, which can see victims of rape and torture detained as soon as they claim asylum.

23rd February 2012

Air Canada Mechanics Reject Deal

A strike of over 8,000 members of the union IAMAW at Air Canada looks likely, after two thirds of baggage handlers, cargo agents and mechanics reject an offer by Canda's biggest airline.

23rd February 2012

The blog of the aviation section of the multi-union International Transport Workers Federation

Kingfisher May Be On Brink Of Collapse As Bank Denies Loan

IAG say buying minority stake in American ‘not on the table'

BA's owner has made a statement to deny that it would buy a minority stake in American Airlines, which is currently under bankruptcy protection. There will however be speculation that it might be interested in a majority stake, if US legislation on foreign ownership of its airlines was waived to prevent American from folding completely.

22nd February 2012

BA steward on Heathrow to Tokyo flight on bomb threat charge

NHS 'will be Cameron's poll tax', says Ed Miliband

Ed Miliband today voiced what many people already believe - that Cameron's Health and Social Care Bill could be to him what the poll tax was to Margaret Thatcher. This hugely unpopular piece of legislatio, which even most Tory voters do not want may very well destroy this government's credibility with the nation.

Meanwhile, a protest is being held tomorrow in the constituency of Simon Hughes to demand that LibDems take a stand to keep our NHS public.

Bermondsey Demo against Health & Social Care Bill

The other major item on the NHS today relates to the government's successful defence of a vote to demand that it publish the risks to patients' health presented by the bill. Why are the public and even the MPs and Lords who are voting on the bill being denied the information they need to decide how dangerous this bill actually is?

'Conspiracy of silence' on NHS risk

22nd February 2012

Public in danger if EU flight laws on pilot fatigue are approved

In case anyne actually believes the government line that health and safety is just an unnecessary burden on employers, let us not forget a recent report of a flight which saw both pilot and co-pilot fall asleep.

22nd February 2012

Frankfurt Airport Strike To End Wednesday Night

Fraport has finally agreed to meet with union GdF to discuss its grievances without preconditions. 

"Free the Miami 5" campaign

EU ETS Opponents Agree Counter Measures

Opponents of the EU's carbon trading scheme have agreed that nations may take any of three possible actions, but have stopped short of recommending that individual countries follow a particular course. Those options are -

  • Using national legislation to prevent airlines from joining the scheme
  • Complaining to the UN via ICAO
  • Trade sanctions against EU airlines

22nd February 2012

Unite to protest tomorrow against cuts to Equality & Human Rights Commission

Strike against cuts that 'wind clock back 40 years' in fight against inequality

TUC slams Liam Fox comments that it should be easier to fire workers

Kingfisher Bank Bailout Hangs In The Balance

The future of Kingfisher airlines hangs in the balance as it struggles to get an extension of bank loans. Half of Kingfisher's fleet remains grounded due to a lack of finance to pay maintenance bills, so a failure to acquire funding could see the ailine unable to continue to operate.

22nd February 2012

Unions take up the fight against new anti-union legislation in Turkey

Frankfurt Airport Strike To Continue to Weekend

Unite launches new website for London and Eastern activists

The London and Eastern Region has set up a new website for activists. There are a number of campaigns running at present, but support for the "Save our NHS" and "Keep our NHS Public" campaigns would be particularly welcome at this critical time. Don't forget the rally in Westminster on the 7th of March between 18.00 and 19.30 for all those who oppose the Tories' sell off of our most important service.

21st February 2012

Carbon Trade Peace Is "Safe For Now"

Reuters' environment correspondent Gerard Wynn views that the two dozen objectors to the EU's carbon trading scheme for aviation (ETS) are unlikely to opt for trade wars at this point in time. They may well put in a formal request that the United Nations body that governs civil aviation rules on the matter, but the UN is committed to a binding global solution to carbon emissions and is likely to respond that the EU was not unreasonable in its actions, considering that none of the major dissenters have implemented plausible local schemes to meet UN targets.

BBC - Countries rally against EU carbon tax on airlines

21st February 2012

Four Bidders Left In Edinburgh Airport Auction

Tesco and Argos express concerns about workfare

Even the companies that have taken part in the government's unpaid work experience scheme for unemployed people are starting to question the "voluntary" nature of workfare.

Trade unions and other critics of the scheme describe it as essentially "slave labour", with unemployed people told they could lose their benefits if they do not take part. Hourly rates on these schemes can be effectively as low as £2.30 an hour, with no guarantee of a job at the end. And why would an unethical company advertise a paid job if the government keeps sending them workers for free?

A campaign to "boycott workfare" has ensured that high profile companies that have used the scheme have been put in the spotlight. We are delighted that Tesco and Argos have recognised that there are serious ethical issues involved and that they need to offer more than experience of work to justify the use of unpaid labour that is anything but voluntary.

21st February 2012

PM toys with freeze on minimum wage

Yet another cynical proposal to make the poorest pay for a deficit caused by the greed of the richest.

21st February 2012

Tory MP "forgot" £50k he's paid by private health company while debating NHS break up

Border agency to be split in two

Another expensive coalition government restructure of one of its departments. This one seems intended to divert criticism from the government over the way that the border agency has dealt with the massive queues caused by the last set of budget cuts.

While there may be some merits to separating the policy making part of the Border Agency from enforcement, the HLC suspects that the main result will be for front line staff to be told to enforce policies that are impossible within the budgets provided, leading to even bigger queues, damage to the UK's international reputation and to business  - and to breaches of H&S and human rights legislation. But the policy makers may be then be able to claim ignorance of the problems due to their distance from the operational side of border control. This is unlikely to assist the long term effectiveness of the agency in carrying out its function.

21st February 2012

Heathrow Express staff strike to disrupt travel plans

Frankfurt Airport Strike Extended To Wednesday

BBC Video - Interview with Andrew Lansley's heckler

Former Unison rep, June Hautot gave an interview after heckling Andrew Lansley on his way to a private summit about the future of the NHS - to which only supporters of his reforms were invited. Ms. Hautot demanded that Mr. Lansley wait, as so many patients are having to do as a result of the Tory cuts. The Health Secretray responded with an outright lie, by claiming that waiting lists have got shorter under the Tories.

Andrew Lansley has to get past June Hautot

Lansley: "Traitor"

21st February 2012

Kingfisher Airlines blames crisis on income tax department for seizing its bank accounts

Football Association launches crackdown on homophobia

LGBT Labour NW Film Club - "Kick Off"

Russia May Block Airlines' Emissions Trading

Russia talks about passing a law to ban its airlines from joining the EU's Emissions Trading Scheme and "trade wars".

Right wing think tank recommends taking away pensioners' bus passes

Another cynical and heartless recommendation from lobbyists who want to see tax cuts for the rich paid for by the old, the poor, the ill and the vulnerable.

Heathrow posts record month but warns it is losing out to European rivals

Heathrow continues to hit new records for passenger movements, but is unable to deal with the level of increased demand, leaving European hubs to cash in on emerging markets such as the far east. Meanwhile, trials of "mixed mode" (take offs and landings on the same runway) have led to increased complaints about noise.

Mixed mode is a likely consequence of the shortage of runways at Heathrow. Residents of London who live on the flight path may have to put up with noise from morning through to evening because runway scheduling does not allow for a "quiet" period without take offs.

Heathrow noise complains rise six fold during runway alteration trial

20th February 2012

Virgin's sexism in the sky

A million on Spanish streets for workers' rights

Up to a million people are taking to the streets today in Spain to protest workers being stripped of employment rights within days of a new right wing governement gaining control.

20th February 2012

Kingfisher Woes Mount As Government Rules Out Aid

Representatives of a million NHS professionals excluded from PM's health summit

As David Cameron hand picks health professionals for today's health summit to avoid meeting his critics, it seems that it really is possible to fit the supporters of this NHS reform bill into a small room.

Health workers: You can't keep us out forever

20th February 2012

Airlines pocket £265k a day in card charges

A number of airlines are accused of exploiting passengers by charging them up to 700 times the actual cost of processing a booking by credit card.

20th February 2012

Police arrest 11 at immigration protest

German transport union Verdi brings Berlin to a halt

Look Left – The fight for the soul of the NHS goes on

Anger over Education Secretary's inaction on homophobic literature in schools

Moscow Talks Next Week To Discuss ETS Measures

Moscow is due to host a meeting of 26 nations that are objecting to Europe's carbon trading scheme.

NHS changes: Critics 'not invited' to PM's meeting

David Cameron has further alienated groups that represent health professionals by leaving them off the invitation list to tomorrow's event about planned changes to the NHS.

18th February 2012

Virgin Complains To EU Over IAG takeover of bmi

Strike Grounds 300 Flights At Frankfurt

Qantas H1 Profit Halves, Flags 500 Job Cuts

TUC - Wide gap between government spin on disabled people and the reality

The TUC says that far from helping disabled people to get jobs, government policies are increasingly pushing the disabled to the margins of society.

17th February 2012

Abortion rights: what's wrong with these pictures?

Third runway is most "credible option"

Government challenged in court over pension changes

Eye scanners at England airports turned off

Unite demands firm assurance over jobs at Thomson Airways

Thomson blames new aircraft for hundreds of job cuts

Unite branches sign motion to "Boycott Workfare"

Why are the Tories so keen to support Workfare and so reluctant to create any jobs? Oh yes, the free labour (meaning a company doesn't actually need to hire anyone to do the job for even a minimum wage). And high unemployment is good to help force worker pay down (which increases the profits of the bosses).

March 3rd will see a number of groups carry out protests outside companies that chose to take unpaid labour rather than recruit an employee. Click the link above for details.

15th February 2012

Jet Air Seeks Government Help To Raise Funds

Struggling Indian airline Jet is seeking funds to maintain its operation after reporting a 4th consecutive quarterly loss. It is claimed that Jet employees have yet to receive pay for January and the airline's debt is nearly $3 billion. The immediate concern for the airline is maintaining its supply of fuel. 

India Aviation Panel To Review Wage Issues