July 2012 (early)

New Olympic alert over the five terror suspects missed at Heathow passport check

Concern over the training of temporary staff carrying out passport checks at Heathrow returns to the news as the Daily Express asks if the failure to identify five terror suspects threatens the safety of the Olympics.

16th July 2012 

Burnham vows to scrap NHS reforms when Labour win election

Ten to a room and one shower for 75 people: Inside the 'slum' camp for Olympic cleaners

Court order prevents BBC from broadcasting film about riots

Why is the BBC being prevented from telling us why thousands of people took to the streets in anger and frustration?

Is this the worst thought out Olympic road lane in London?

MPs question whether G4S are fit to carry out public service roles

The Curse of George Osborne - IMF downgrades UK growth forecast AGAIN

Opinion: More action, less talk needed on aviation policy

Government indecision threatens 'Boris Island' plan

How poster girl Justine Greening landed the Tories with a Jumbo headache

The Airport Operators Association attacks the government's indecisiveness on aviation policy (again). The coalition's lack of support for aviation is likely to put off investors for any major airport projects. Meanwhile, Justine Greening comes under fire for a claimed conflict of interest between her constituency, which is mostly anti-Heathrow expansion and the national economic interest that she is meant to support as Transport Minister.

16th July 2012

Kingfisher flights resume after staff unrest over unpaid wages

Smiths Detection Wins Security Orders for UK Airports

Olympic athletes begin arriving at Heathrow ahead of London 2012

Costs to rise as Heathrow books too many staff

Heathrow Airport welcomes London 2012 athletes

London 2012: first Games lane opens on M4 motorway from Heathrow

Olympic athletes ‘lost for 4 hours’ as drivers face Games lanes woe

As Olympic traffic starts to arrive and test Heathrow's facilities, the numbers of passengers are not as high as predicted (though still record numbers). Meanwhile those who have no interest in sport are wondering why they have to contend with long delays on roads, as lanes are closed to make way for special Olympic lanes.

16th July 2012

APD campaign hits 55,000 due to 'Branson effect'

Tomorrow's Times front page: Forget Heathrow because we can get bigger, says Gatwick

Despite having only a single runway and completely lacking the number of connections to stake a claim for hub airport status, Gatwick adds confusion to the debate over how Britain should deal with a lack of airport capacity serving London.

16th July 2012

Millionaires Cameron and cabinet ministers fail to pay their cleaners a living wage

Staff morale at HMRC so poor it needs its own 'truth and reconciliation' body

G4S were in charge of security at airport which let 9/11 hijackers slip through

From @TulipSiddiq on Twitter Sunday 15th July - "Scary fact of the day - G4S provides security at 14 UK airports and four ports"

G4S has been severely criticized for its operations in the occupied Palestinian territories

New security fears as Heathrow checks miss terror suspects

The Guardian reports allegations that part trained temporary staff covering UKBA functions are regularly failing to stop terrorists and other people on watch lists from entering Britain. It is claimed that five alerts were missed in a single day.

These revelations are likely to be extremely embarassing to the government - and in particular to Theresa May. But are these drops in standards not a consequence of failing to value long serving workers and managers in the public sector and replacing them with inexperienced staff, often from the private sector.

Surely the coalition should wake up and put on hold its plans to privatise our key services such as health and policing. G4S have recently shown their inability to prepare for the Olympics - suggesting that they can not be trusted to deliver policing services. Surrey Police have already shelved a £1.5 billion plan to privatise some of its functions after the Olympics fiasco. We hope that other public bodies do the same. 

Inexperienced UK border staff 'let in three terror suspects'

14th July 2012

Oops! It seems that the Home Secretary was warned last year about G4S's (lack of) ability to manage Olympic security. Let's hope that Ms. May's failure to kick them out was not influenced by her shares in Prudential, the main shareholder in G4S.

Border desks still not manned despite peak hour promise

The Telegraph reports that despite government promises to staff all desks at peak times over summer, nearly half have been empty during some of the busiest periods.

14th July 2012

BBC - Is the UK's aviation policy up in the air?

Further aviation policy delays will impact economic recovery

Games aircraft may use lethal force

American Airlines and US Airways flirt a merger in the media

American rebukes US Airways for bankruptcy 'publicity stunt'

There must be cross-party commitment to passing the 0.7% international aid bill

Left Foot Forward on why all parties should support a commitment to paying a tiny proportion of our GDP to some of the poorest countries in the world. Labour and Co-operative MP Mark Kendrick has put forward a private members bill that aims to ensure that money set aside for dealing with international poverty is not used to pay for tax breaks for millionaires.

13th July 2012

Unions slam assault on facility time

Unions present evidence that their reps actually save their employers money while making workplaces safer.

Air India hopes to raise a $1.3 billion in bond sale

IAG To Issue Bonds Secured By Airport Slots

Unions united this weekend at anti-cuts events

Two of the union movements biggest events are this year centred on attacking the government's plans for austerity. The Durham Miners' Gala and the Tolpuddle Festival will feature high profile socialists asking why the poor must pay for the banks' bail out while the rich refuse to put their hands in their pockets.

Ed Miliband to address Durham Miners' Gala

13th July 2012

Scots ministers want guarantee that Heathrow to Scotland flights will be protected

Scottish ministers are demanding that DfT guarantee that BA's monopoly on flights from Heathrow to Scottish airports will not result in further cuts. Since IAG bought bmi, no other airlines have Heathrow slots allocated to Scottish airports, giving fears that those that remain may be switched to more profitable long haul routes.

13th July 2012

MPs' Heathrow report suggests Stanwell as site for 4th Heathrow runway

Up to £1,200 fees for tribunals will price low-paid workers out of justice, says TUC

Which is probably why the Tories want to bring in charges for bringing tribunal claims against their employers - to save their millionaire friends from being bothered by insignificant workers that they've treated like shit.

Message to Cameron - there are already plenty of deterrents against going to tribunal, such as cost awards for presenting a weak claim. But workers, no matter how poor or badly paid should have access to justice. When the law only protects the rich, it is no law at all, merely oppression.

If you deny union members the opportunity to take their cases to court at a reasonable cost, then employers can expect a lot more strikes demanding reinstatement for unfairly sacked workers.

Government proposes up to £1,200 tribunal fees

13th July 2012

EU Aims To Reach Global Airline Emissions Deal

American Airlines' UK jobs under threat

Trade unions demand cleaner air after aviation workers shown at increased cancer risk

Danish trade unions are leading the way in a campaign for cleaner air for ramp workers after a study showed that exposure to burnt fuel increased the risk of bladder cancer and other conditions. The pollutants that Project Cleanair seeks to reduce are known as "ultrafines" - very small particles that are known to cause DNA damage, cancer, heart disease, blood clots, brain haemorrhages, bronchitis and Coronary Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).

While little is known about the risks specific to those who work where aircraft fuel is being burnt, the health risks from working around diesel vehicles has been acknowleged in several studies in the USA. Unions are calling for a series of actions to reduce the risks to workers, including fitting filters to the exhausts of diesel vehicles that are used to load aircraft. View the study here

13th July 2012

M4 motorway in west London reopens after emergency repair

Arms sales to authoritarian regimes need review, say MPs

Government confirms delay on airport expansion consultation

UK government outlines draft aviation policy, but can it solve the sector’s problems?

The coalition's master plan to geal with a lack of capacity at London's airports is revealed to be... er... to ask airlines to fly to Manchester, Birmingham or somewhere else in the UK while it twiddles its thumbs until autumn. The problem is that today's international businesses want a hub airport with a wide range of destinations. So expect China, Brazil, Russia, India etc. to think about using Paris, Amsterdam or Dubai and costing the UK £billions in foreign investment.

Get your fingers out, Dave and Nick.

Dismay over government's new delay on airport expansion

ES - Airport policy delayed in bid to avoid controversy

The Independent - Tories set for a U-turn over opposition to third runway at Heathrow (but not till after the next election)

13th July 2012

Unite asks members to show support for 1700 disabled Remploy workers about to lose jobs

Unite is asking its members to spend 60 seconds filling in a message of support as we attempt to stop the closure of 27 Remploy factories that between them employ 1700 disabled workers. Please take the time to say that this is not the way to treat some of the most vulnerable people in our society.

Click here to sign the letter of support and add your name here to the 100,000 people who have already petitioned David Cameron to keep Remploy's factories open. Thank you.

13th July 2012

Concerns over standard of immigration checks at Heathrow Airport (2 minute BBC video)

An official inspection of passport control standards at Heathrow raises concerns over the training levels of temporary staff drafted in to deal with queues and says that forged travel documents may not have been spotted. Those looking beyond the Olympics will doubt Damien Green's commitment to the smooth operation of Heathrow after he hinted that staff numbers would drop to their previous level when the games are finished.

Bookies slash odds on Heathrow passport queues

Damian Green: immigration control will 'revert to normal' after Olympics

UK border guards go on charm offence

12th July 2012

NATS the way to do it – unions welcome government air traffic decision

VIDEO: Tolpuddle Martyrs Festival 2012 preview

TUC - "Government must stop dithering over Britain's future airport capacity"

As the coalition again puts off making hard decisions over the lack of airport capacity in the South East, the TUC says that government indecision is holding back growth and stopping the creation of tens of thousands of new jobs. The TUC's comments are mirrored by business leaders who fear that new international business is being lost to foreign hubs with additional capacity.

Airport Operators Association Press Release

Business leaders attack coalition for dithering over Heathrow

12th July 2012 

Bric growth offsetting eurozone weakness, says BAA

BAA reports a record June, with passenger numbers rising 1.6% to 6.2 million

International Labour Organisation tells EU “escape austerity trap” or lose 4.5 million jobs

£500m Heathrow link to cut times on Great Western line

Unite gives stark warning to police force chiefs as G4S fiasco hits Games

Unite warns of the risks of attempting to use private security to carry out police functions after G4S fails to deliver on security for the 2012 Olympics.

Olympic mess helps sink police sell-off

12th July 2012

Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic to launch small satellites

The wealthiest 20 per cent have 91 times more than the poorest 20 per cent

TUC - Top 10 per cent now more than 500 times wealthier than bottom 10 per cent

Over 500 aviation workers protest outside EU parliament for ground handlers' rights

The International Transport Workers Federation (ITF) reports that well over 500 trade unionists from the Civil Aviation sector attended a lobby of the EU parliament in Strasbourg to demand that a new Ground Handling Directive contains social protection for workers.

European airport workers demand job security

ETF Groundhandling Newsletter

12th July 2012

Protecting ‘mums to be’ is a top priority for Unite

Airport consultation delayed by coalition tension

A consultation on resolving the lack of airport capacity near London that was due to take place tomorrow looks unlikely to happen after the LibDems indicated that they are unwilling to consider any kind of expansion, especially at Heathrow. Most of the business community favour a third (and possibly fourth) runway at Heathrow while unions fear that an alternative hub could cost up to a quarter of a million jobs in West London.

11th July 2012

Government scraps plans to sell its 49% stake in NATS Air Traffic Control

IAG director stands down over banking fraud allegations

Extra security for Heathrow arrivals

Extra security is to be provided at passport control as fears grow that passengers may try to storm immigration in anger at delays. Surely the money spent on police or security guards would be better spent on adequate numbers of UKBA staff so that the queues do not build up in the first place? UKBA officers have already been subjected to slow hand claps and increased verbal and racial abuse.

Meanwhile, Immigration Minister Damien Green seems to be in denial about the damage that government cuts have done as he states that waits of nearly an hour are acceptable.

Immigration Minister says waits of under an hour are "acceptable"

Novices signed up as Olympic border staff

Border Force head Brian Moore to quit after Olympics as immigration chaos continues

BBC - Heathrow immigration queue slow hand-clapped

Government to start Olympics airports border plan on Sunday

Police drafted into Heathrow amid public disorder fears

11th July 2012

University applications drop 9% as fee hike makes education a privilege of the rich

American Airlines considers merger options

A merger with US Airways seems to be the preferred option for shareholders as AA seeks a return to profit.

Proposed law could let employees wear crucifix at work

Cameron woos the Christian vote with a proposed new law. However, the HLC remains sceptical of the Tories giving out new rights at the same time as it wants to take away so many that we already have.

11th July 2012

Hard-hit pensioners use savings to repay debts

Lord Foster says Heathrow should be closed to make way for his Thames hub

The arguments over the best way to deal with a lack of airport capacity in the south east continue. Lord Foster, who has designed a four runway airport on the Isle of Grain in the Thames Estuary wants a closure of Heathrow to force airlines to use his hub. Such a scheme could destroy nearly a quarter of a million jobs in West London and cause massive unemployment and poverty in the area.

Meanwhile, the Board of Airline Representatives (UK) has hit back at Transport Minister, Justine Greening over her failure to allow open debate on a third runway at Heathrow.

Board of UK Airline Representatives hits back at Greening

10th July 2012

Right-wing think tanks at odds with British business on green growth

More crackpot ideas from the right wing lobbyists who think Cameron is far too moderate

TUC chooses new General Secretary

The TUC has announced that Frances O'Grady will become its first female General Secretary when Brendan Barber retires at the end of the year. O'Grady is Deputy General Secretary of the TUC and was previously with the Transport and General Workers Union, which is now part of Unite.

10th July 2012

MP 'appalled' by Heathrow queues

Heathrow opens special passport lanes for 'low-risk' travellers

Home Office select committee head, Keith Vaz makes a spot check of the queues at Heathrow. Meanwhile, a trial has begun to give passengers arriving from Australia and the USA special lanes to speed their passage through immigration. 

Richard Branson - Passengers arriving in Britain should be welcomed, not treated like terrorists

Heathrow passport control queues unacceptable, says BAA

9th July 2012

ITF launches campaign for sacked Turkish Airlines workers

Atos workers to vote on Olympic strikes

Atos, the company that has stripped thousands of disabled people of benefits by stating (often wrongly) that they are "fit for work" is exposed as treating its own staff as cynically as those it assesses. Atos now faces the possibility that it will be dealing with strikes during the Olympics, of which it is a major sponsor.

9th July 2012

Cranfield University Student Launches Research Into Disabled Passengers Experience

Your Plane Was Delayed "Because the Tarmac Melted"

Tax office claimed to "help the dodgers"

'Dirty bombs' may have been missed by private border staff as Games approach

The Guardian reports on an investigation into failures by Serco when carrying out UK Border Agency functions, in particular allegations that they failed to correctly use equipment intended to detect radioactive materials entering Britain.

8th July 2012

Free Enterprise group of 39 Tory MPs calls for third and fourth runway at Heathrow

NATS boss says airports at both Heathrow and the Thames Estuary 'just wouldn't work'

Colin Marshall, Who Turned Around British Airways, Dies at 78

Passenger Death Trumped By American Airlines CEO's Family Vacation

A remarkable story about a passenger who had a heart attack being delayed from receiving medical attention due to priority being given to "VIP" Gerard Arpey, the CEO of American Airlines. It is not clear if the delay contributed to the passenger's death, but at the very least a great amount of unnecessary distress was inflicted on the passenger's wife.

8th July 2012

Air France Ground Workers Agree Restructuring

Richard Branson says BA-Iberia merger should be undone

London gay pride: Scaled back event takes place

As London hosts World Pride for the first time, Westminster Council and Boris Johnson come under fire for their lukewarm support for this major event. Westminster Council scaled back on funding, meaning that the usual floats did not get to make an appearance and Mr. Johnson failed to attend due to "other commitments".

Pride, which is in its 41st year aims to highlight the unjustifiable persecution that lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender people are subject to around the world. Trade unions are central to the struggle for equality and call for an end to bigotry, intolerance and hate crime, whether the targets are LGBT, women, racial groups, the disabled or the poor.

Huge strides have been made in the past century to create a more equal society, though the legal protections that have been won in the UK are often non-existent in other countries. We must strive to achieve full equality and we must be wary of bigots using the recession as an opportunity to play "divide and rule" by blaming minorities for the actions of a greedy privileged elite.

7th July 2012

BA in privacy row as passengers face being profiled by staff with iPads and Google

Higher Spanish airport taxes are ‘almost suidical’ - Vueling

Spain makes the same error as Britain in trying to raise money for the treasury from big airport tax hikes, but without considering how badly this will damage tourism and business.

7th July 2012

Will the SFO banking investigation succeed under the strain of government budget cuts?

Dirty tricks Tories block bid for central bank controls

Left Foot Forward asks if cuts to the police budget might mean that the Serious Fraud Office can not afford to carry out a full investigation into the banks fixing of the Libor rate. Meanwhile, the Morning Star criticises Tories who prevented a bill from John McDonnell to give parliament a say in the appointment of the Governor of the Bank of England.

7th July 2012

Hundreds of military police officers used to man passport desks

In what could become a major embarassment for the government, the Telegraph reveals that over a hundred military police officers are being used on some days to staff passport control desks that are empty because of ill-considered cuts. These officers may have had as little as 3 days training, leading to questions about how well they are able to protect our borders.

If even the normally Tory supporting Telegraph is raising concerns about the situation caused by these cuts, it looks likely that the Home Office and Theresa May will be under scrutiny as passenger numbers rise towards the Olympics.

Meanwhile, the Evening Standard reports that Heathrow had serious failures in meeting targets for queue times for non-EU passengers in June.

Immigration queue targets missed

6th July 2012

Delegates take aim at Johnson over Pride snub

Heathrow jobs ‘peril’ (Is the Sun now supporting a 3rd runway at Heathrow?) 

Travelmole - Delay expected on airport expansion as Coalition remain split

Abu Dhabi Airport in USD$2.9 Billion Expansion

The truth about Beecroft and Cameron's plans to take away our legal protections at work

Unite's assistant General Secretary, Tony Burke shows why the only beneficiaries of Adam Beecroft's whimsical plan to strip us of our employment rights would only benefit the cowboy employers, while undermining ethical bosses and failing to create new jobs.

6th July 2012

Shocking increase in workplace accidents as Tories slash H&S protections

Kingfisher Wins More Time To Stay Aloft

Calls grow for an independent banking inquiry, after MPs give Diamond easy ride

Air France crash 'due to pilot error, training and technical failings'

A report into the June 2009 Air France crash that resulted in 228 deaths makes 25 safety recommendations in addition to the 25 that were made in a preliminary report. These recommendations include better pilot training and improvements to aircraft warning systems.

6th July 2012

Etihad eyes Irish government's Aer Lingus stake


500 aviation workers from across Europe converge on the EU parliament in Strasborg to demand social protections in a forthcoming directive on the ground handling sector.

ETF press statement on GH directive

5th July 2012

Airlines include debit card charges in headline price

OFT forces airlines to stop hiding credit card charges

Air India Pilots Call Off Strike After Court Order

NHS charging and rationing 'may be needed'

As unions and health professionals warned before Andrew Lansley forced his Health and Social Care Act on the public, there is already talk of healthcare being rationed or charged for - as private companies seek to maximise their profits from our illnesses.

It seems that the billions that workers have paid in national insurance has been used to bail out the banks and pay for tax cuts for the 1%, leaving insufficient funds to pay for hip operations and dozens of other treatments that help us maintain the quality of our lives. In short, being healthy is becoming the privilege of the rich.

4th July 2012

Unite bus strike for tomorrow suspended as management makes new offer

EasyJet defends chairman in wake of banking scandal

As EasyJet chairman, Mike Rake is promoted to deputy chair at Barclays following Bob Diamond's departure, Sir Stelios Haji-Iannou calls for him to step down at the airline, citing a conflict of interest. Sir Stelios says that the workload at Barclays will be too much for Rake to fully carry his duties at EasyJet and that he is "entrenched in the disgraced City establishment".

4th July 2012

TUC attacks shambolic curtailment of London World Pride

As London hosts World Pride for the first time, Westminster Council massively scales back plans for the event, giving just a week's notice.

Unions demand stop to coastguard closures

PCS demands that the government stops the closure of nine coastal rescue centres and that Maritime Minister Mike Penning keeps to his promise made last year that no centres will close until a full impact assessment has been made.

4th July 2012

Passport staff seek talks to stop jobs cuts chaos

Unions and safety campaigners protest scrapping of regulation of tower cranes

Safety campaigners demand that Britain, which has the worst record in Europe for accidents involving tower cranes strengthen existing legislation, rather than scrap essential safety laws.

3rd July 2012

Unite conference round-up

Lenders Losing Patience With Kingfisher

The future looks bleak for Kingfisher airlines, with three quarters of its fleet grounded, the government continuing to block foreign ownership and lenders looking set to call in guarantees made by Vijay Mallya and United Breweries on their loans. Kingfisher's debts currently stand at around $1.4 billion and pilots are reportedly getting ready to strike over unpaid wages.

3rd July 2012

Unite welcomes resignation of Bob Diamond

Arrogant Osborne still refusing full banking inquiry – even as Diamond resigns

Once again, hypocritical, deregulation-loving Osborne attacks Labour over bank regulation

The Chancellor again suffers from a selective memory as he accuses Labour of not regulating banks tightly enough, despite being on record as having claimed that Gordon Brown was stifling business by regulating them too much. Osborne continues to dismiss the need for a full and independent judicial inquiry into the banking industry, despite evidence that it has learned little from the crisis that it contributed to so heavily 4 years ago.

3rd July 2012

APD campaign reaches 9,000 signatures

Thousands of people ask why UK passengers are forced to pay ten times as much air travel tax as those who fly from French airports.

Pilots march on Westminster to raise fatigue concerns

Elton John attacks Ukraine’s homophobes as Kiev debates homophobic law

Ukraine proposes a law that will make it illegal to discuss LGBT rights in public.

Delay expected on airport expansion decision as Coalition remain split

Thames Estuary airport not solution: South East business report

PCS union to support anti-cuts MPs

80% of Britons want bankers locked up

A YouGov survey for consumer magazine Which? finds that 4 out of 5 people want to see bankers prosecuted where laws have been broken. The mismanagement of the financial sector has cost taxpayers trillions around the globe and thrown tens of millions of people into poverty. The public is no longer going to be satisfied by a few senior bankers moving from one plush job into another or the occasional CEO giving up his (or very rarely, her) bonus.

The ConDems must stop protecting individuals among the 1% who have seriously damaged the economy to line their pockets or feed their ambitions. David Cameron, after initially saying that he was not sure that there needed to be an inquiry, seems finally prepared to take at least token action. But should it not be a judge who carries out the inquiry rather than an MP with links to the city and who may have no interest in bringing transparency to the workings of the banking industry?

Cameron "not sure that we need an inquiry into Libor bank rate fixing"