July 2012 (late)

Thomas Cook airline sale finalised

Southend is given official status as a London Airport

British workers join Turkish Airlines showdown

The Morning Star headline article today is the Turkish Airlines 305 and Unite's support for aviation unions in Turkey to be allowed the basic legal right to withdraw their labour. Sadly, this is being denied CAT workers in Turkey and 305 workers were summarily dismissed for calling in sick.

Our Tory government has already admitted that it has considered similar actions against transport unions in the UK, so Unite is calling for support for its comrades in Turkey to show solidarity. You can show your support for the sacked Turkish Airlines workers at reinstate305 which also has campaign materials to download.

31st July 2012

Airlines Urge US To Act On EU Carbon Law

Arbitrator Approves Air Canada Pilot Deal

A government appointed arbitrator imposes Air Canada's final offer and rejects a union proposal to end a long running contract dispute. Pilots say the new terms could see them forced to fly up to 30% more hours and risk the safety of passengers.

31st July 2012

Aer Lingus urges shareholders to spurn Ryanair advances

Homelessness 'up 25%' in England in past 3 years

Rising unemployment levels, lower household incomes, bigger bills and a failure of government and councils to invest in social housing mean that over 50,000 families are now listed as homeless.

Air France update on the voluntary redundancy plan

Air France-KLM reveals impact of cost-cutting

Pressure piles up on sick profiteers Atos

Just two days after the Guardian reported that a doctor told them that Atos was telling its fitness assessors to declare 7 out of 8 diability benefit claimants fit for work (regardless of whether they were or not), Panorama investigates claims that many hundreds of those that have been miraculously "cured" by the French company have died since forced to return to the workplace.

Other allegations about Atos include breaches of the Data Protection Act, failure to pay their own staff the living wage and disability discrimination. Some of these claims were aired this evening on television on Dispatches.

The BBC also reports that disabled people are facing increased levels of hate crime, perhaps because 84% of media coverage focuses on the tiny number (0.5%) of benefit claimants who are fraudulent rather than the 99.5% who are genuine.

We should be asking why on Earth our government keeps giving contracts to companies with such questionable ethics - and most definitely why Britain is risking its reputation by allowing Atos to be a major sponsor of the 2012 Olympics.

Atos assessors told to keep disability benefit approvals low

PLAY C4 Dispatches programme (2 + 3 adverts)

PLAY Panorama programme (BBC iplayer)

BBC - Disabled people 'feel hostility'

30th July 2012

Ryanair’s profits slump on higher fuel costs

Morning Star - Londoners say no to Games of greed

Etihad president asks UK ministers for clarity over airport plans

Etihad President, James Hogan tells the UK government that his rapidly expanding airline may choose airports outside of the UK unless there are clear proposals to deal with the lack of spare airport capacity serving London.

Dubai International traffic up 16%

Etihad and Aer Lingus sign codeshare deal

29th July 2012

Shift work link to 'increased risk of heart problems and diabetes'

This report will come as no surprise to many airport workers, but may give some ammunition to reps who are forever being told that their members must start earlier and finish later.

29th July 2012

Drunk Arab prince in jet taser bust-up (The Sun)

Health boss boasts of buying new boat as he axes pay for his staff

Do taxpayers really want to see their hard earned money spent on playboy private sector bosses or on front line healthcare staff?

ITF statement on the "Support the Turkish Airlines 305" campaign

Proposals to reintroduce "risk based" border security checks

As temporary immigration staff are due to be released to their normal jobs following the Olympics, the government considers a two-tier border security system that would see reduced checks for EU passengers and some other groups.

28th July 2012

BBC - UK customs 'ignore drug suspects to beat Olympic queues'

Heathrow baggage restrictions during Olympics

Prime Minister rules out Heathrow expansion until 2015

The Daily Mail reports on David Cameron's solution to the lack of airport capacity serving London - to ignore the problem so that someone else will have to deal with it after the Tories have been booted out of power.

TUC - Scandal of workers forced to pay for their own protective safety equipment

Unite & ITF to protest at Turkish Embassy tomorrow (Fri) over 300 sacked by Turkish Air

There will be an official (approved by the police) rally outside the Turkish Embassy tomorrow in support of the 305 Turkish Airlines employees who were sacked after the government declared strikes in the aviation sector to be illegal. The union the employees belong to, Hava-Is seeks support from ITF affiliates in calling for Turkey to reinstate the sacked workers and to restore this most fundamental of employment rights.

The rally will take place between 11 and 12 (Friday 27th) outside 43 Belgrave Square, London SW1X 8PA.

26th July 2012 

BAA loses Stansted legal challenge

Following a ruling at the Court of Appeal that upholds the Competition Commission's order that BAA sell Stansted, BAA says that it is considering an application to the Supreme Court.

26th July 2012

PCS: Minister must go over border job row

Calls for Damien Green's resignation or dismissal grow after he is accused of misleading the public over 800 jobs advertised on the eve of a strike by PCS members at UKBA.

26th July 2012

Virgin Atlantic Cargo Awards New Handling Contract To dnata In The UK

More than 40 groups to stage Olympics protest

Groups of protestors claim that the aims of the Olympics have been subverted by the corporate sector, who see it as nothing more than an advertising opportunity. Critics claim that many of the sponsors given (sold) official Olympic status are unethical and should not have been allowed to have their brand associated with the games. Examples include ATOS, who have stripped thousands of disabled people of benefits, yet are a major sponsor of the Paralympics and Dow Chemicals, which purchased Union Carbide, (the company that caused the Bhopal disaster) - yet refused to commit to compensating the victims.

26th July 2012

Fire alert halts Heathrow Express as airport deals with record arrivals ahead of Games

Remploy workers turn up the heat

Today (Thursday July 26th) expected to be busiest ever day for Heathrow arrivals

Theresa May should relax border checks, says Keith Vaz

Keith Vaz criticises the Home Secretary's decision to end risk based checks at passport control, which saw EU passengers and school parties given reduced scrutiny at busy times.

Call for relaxation of security checks to trim 'unacceptable' queues

26th July 2012

Latest GDP numbers mean Britain’s economy has shrunk since general election

BAA declares itself prepared for 2012 London Olympics

New fund for mesothelioma victims must go further, says TUC

Osborne’s ideological politics are threatening Cameron’s ‘greenest government ever’

Er... when did Cameron's government ever have green credentials?

UKBA strike called off after government promises to create 800 new jobs

PCS has called off its planned strike for tomorrow, the day before the Olympics begin, after the government agreed to create 800 new jobs. PCS called the strike after may of its members were subjected to verbal abuse because of delays caused by cuts in staffing numbers. The government had also been in the process of attempting to have the strike declared illegal, claiming that there had been procedural errors in the ballot process.

UK government to seek High Court injunction to prevent border staff strike

25th July 2012

Second Remploy workers’ strike tomorrow as IDS remains silent

BAA posts 8.8% rise in profits

Heathrow and Stansted see passenger increases

The latest health and safety newsletter from the TUC

Eurotunnel in strike vote over sacking of a train driver diagnosed with cancer

Landmark case victory over holiday pay for the long-term sick

Minister calls cash in hand plumbers immoral as his wife helps millionaires avoid paying tax

Treasury Secretary David Gauke showed the utter hypocrisy of the Tory party as he called plumbers immoral for accepting payments in cash, while his wife, a tax lawyer advises large corporations on the best way to reduce their liabilities to the Exchequer.

24th July 2012

Today - Tuesday the 24th of July was scheduled to be Heathrow's busiest day ever!

Board of Airline Representatives slams government indecision on airport expansion

This week should have seen the government publish its aviation strategy document, detailing how the UK would develop its airports for the coming decades and deliver travellers from growing markets to Britain. Instead, the coalition decided that it would make itself unpopular with voters in several marginal seats (that it can expect to lose anyway at the next election) and put off making any decisions for several months.

This government has managed something truly remarkable - it has alienated not just the 99% through its "austerity, austerity and more austerity" policies, but also many in the 1% who can usually expect the Tories to smooth their way towards bigger profits. Even the right wing press is struggling to find anything nice to say about Dave and Gideon at the moment. 

24th July 2012

Tube cleaners down mops

TUC - Ministers must cut tax avoidance off at source by closing loopholes

Gatwick Airport publishes Master Plan

Gatwick airport announces plans to expand its capacity without building a second runway.

London 2012 Games lanes: Traffic delays of two hours

As restrictions begin on some Olympic lanes, such as on the A40, the traffic jams begin.

Adidas insults workers owed £1 million in back pay with £35 vouchers

Unions warned not to disrupt Olympics with industrial action - or face anti-strike laws

Only hours after we posted our article on Turkish Airlines, the Telegraph reported ConDem Employment Minister Norman Lamb making threats to the unions. Basically he seems to be saying - "If you strike, we'll make striking illegal". 

This is the kind of bullying and thuggery from the 1% that stops us achieving greater equality in our society. We should not allow ourselves to be beaten down. The working and middle classes do not exist simply to create the wealth of the elite. We have our own rights - to protect our jobs, working conditions and quality of life. We will not have them stolen from us. Nor will we be intimidated so that we are afraid to assert those rights in a just cause.

Axing of UKBA strikers 'discussed'

22nd July 2012

Virgin Atlantic poised to appeal EU decision to allow IAG's purchase of BMI

Reinstate the Turkish Airlines 305

The International Transport Workers' Federation (of which Unite is a member) is calling for support for its comrades at Turkish Airlines where over 300 employees were summarily sacked after strikes were made illegal in the aviation sector. We believe that other governments (including that of Mr. Cameron and his cronies) would very much like to do the same.

Act now to support your fellow trade unionists in aviation!

22nd July 2012

Business leaders attack Osborne for indecision - cite airport expansion as example

Sickness Benefit Claimants Remarkably Law Abiding Research Finds

A study by the highly respected Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development exposes the Daily Mail's smear campaign against benefit claimants to be nothing more than right wing propaganda. The Mail had led its readers to believe that benefit claimants were particularly likely to be criminals and that workers hardly ever commit crimes, when in fact the reverse is true - i.e. claimants are less likely to have a criminal record than those in work.

Time for the Daily Mail to stop spreading hatred against the poorest and most vulnerable people in our society.

21st Jult 2012

The worst is yet to come - so get ready to march on October 20th

American Airlines flight attendants to vote on contract proposal

$21 trillion hoard hidden from taxman by global elite

A report in the Guardian shows the tactics used by the very wealthy to hide their riches from the taxman. But why should the 99% pay for the deficit while those that caused the recession refuse to put their hands in their pockets?

The BBC's version of the report on the $21 trillion

Wealth doesn't trickle down – it just floods offshore

21st July 2012

British Airways drops slot-backed bond issue

An attempt by British Airways to raise £250 million by selling bonds using the slots it controls as collateral has been dropped due to a lack of interest from investors. It is unclear if this may change BA's plans for investment and further mergers and acquisitions over the next year. BA and its parent, International Airlines Group had expressed an interest in buying into other airlines to gain access to additional foreign routes and markets.

21st July 2012

Talks continue over BA job cuts at Gatwick

Government to meet its Green promises by calling coal, oil and gas "clean" fuels

You couldn't make this up. The coalition, which promised us that it would be the "greenest government ever" has now dropped its pledges on renewable sources of energy. Instead, it is trying to convince us that it has green credentials by designating a number of fossil fuel sources as "clean", despite the fact that they emit the same amount of CO2 as any others. Once again we are being treated like idiots by this cynical and uncaring government while corporations worth billions seem to be writing their own policy for the UK's future.

21st July 2012

The Economist - Air India is in big trouble

Gatwick outlines expansion plans

APD policy 'unlikely to be reversed' says Lord Green

Despite warnings that the UK's high aviation taxes are damaging tourism and trade, the government looks unlikely to reverse its decision to raise Air Passenger Duty at well above the rate of inflation at the same time as CO2 emissions taxes are introduced.

20th July 2012

Tutu calls for end to gay stigma to help tackle HIV

Archbishop Desmond Tutu compares the treatment of gay people to that of blacks under apartheid and calls for an end to criminailisation and hate crime against homosexuals.

20th July 2012

UK Border Agency name eve of Olympics as first strike day

PCS have announced a 24 hour strike on Thursday the 26th of July. Other industrial action is expected to follow if the Home Office refuses to acknowledge the union's grievances over the way that jobs have been devalued, staff cut and pay frozen and capped. The biggest impact is likely to be at passport control points where huge numbers are expected to arrive for the Olympics.

19th July 2012

Local Labour MP meets with Heathrow Unite group

Today a number of Heathrow representatives and officers met with Feltham and Heston MP, Seema Malhotra (Labour and Co-operative) to discuss a range of issues. Unite and the HLC look forward to working together with Ms. Mahotra in the future on matters of mutual interest.

19th July 2012

Attila Ban guilty of murdering Heathrow Radisson hotel colleagues

Unemployment is down, but the government must not ignore the rise in jobless women

Left Foot Forward tells the government not to congratulate itself on the small reductions in overall unemployment while the figures for the number of women and young people who are out of work remain at record levels. Women have taken the brunt of the cuts in the public sector and carry out many of the part time and lower paid jobs in the private sector. Yet it is estimated that 80% of the coalition cuts are yet to come, damaging 40 years of progress towards a greater equality.

19th July 2012

Remploy workers' strike ‘solid’ with ‘massive’ public support

Grow Heathrow: Squatters lose court bid to stay

IMF says austerity is failing and causing permanent economic damage

The coalition's three point plan to deal with the deficit through austerity, austerity and austerity is starting to look increasingly unsustainable now that even the International Monetary Fund has criticised it. In fact, the IMF indicates that this strategy is not only reducing demand but holding back tens of billions of pounds worth of growth while the UK's competitors move ahead.

Time for plan B, George! 

Alarming IMF report shows austerity is failing and causing permanent economic damage

19th July 2012

Airports welcome delay in lifting liquids ban till April 2013

Unite backs Miliband call for a review of G4S public policing role

16,000 Home Office staff vote to strike over jobs and pay

Heathrow border staff 'feeling let down by management'

PCS, the Public and Commercial Services union has voted for strike action over a number of issues including jobs and pay. The action may take place during and/or beyond the Olympics. The UK Border Agency, Passport Service and Criminal Records Bureau are among the services that will be affected.

It is claimed that only half the people covering passport control desks at Heathrow are fully trained. The others may have as little as 3 days training and can be slower to carry out their checks. It is still not known what provisions will be made for UKBA to carry out its function quickly and effectively after the Olympics have finished.

18th July 2012

London Unite bus workers accept Olympics bonus offer

Serco becomes latest firm to face music

Outsourcing company Serco has been slammed by the Care Quality Commission over the poor standard of out of hours GP services it it providing in Cornwall. It has been given 14 days to make substantial improvements. Critics of the coalition will say that outsourcing public services to companies that are under a legal obligation to put their shareholders first can only lead to short cuts that will see the taxpayer shortchanged and the public left with bargain basement services.

18th July 2012

Transport Minister says she will not change her mind over third Heathrow runway

Leaked report suggests that nuclear power is more expensive than wind power

A new report suggesting that the government will need to guarantee EDF £165 per megawatt/hour for nuclear power stations it is planning to build makes us question why the coalition is not backing wind energy, which only costs £135 per megawatt/hour.

Mr. Cameron promised us that this would be the "greenest government ever". However, we might be forgiven for thinking that he seems to be in the pockets of the oil and nuclear industries in his attempts to cut subsidies for solar power.

18th July 2012

Aer Lingus rejects Ryanair bid

Ryanair claims jobs would be created rather than lost by Aer Lingus takeover

Lansley backs new attack on NHS staff

Axed BA crew and staff benefits reinstated

5 British Airways staff dismissed during the BASSA strike in 2010 have been reinstated and staff flight benefits and loyalty bonuses have been returned to strikers following talks between Unite and the airline.

17th July 2012

A list of LGBT Labour Pride events for 2012

Whitehall - Border staff 'being cut too fast'

The National Audit Office says that UKBA cut 1,000 more staff than intended.

Merger of TNT and UPS delayed by EU review

Industry welcomes ICAO CO2 standard

IATA says that it expects an international agreement on carbon dioxide emissions in aviation by the end of 2013. The EU has previously indicated that it would drop its Emissions Trading Scheme if a global system was agreed, thus hopefully avoiding a potential trade war.

17th July 2012 

Western rail link fuels Heathrow third runway speculation

The government's recent decision to approve a £500 million rail link from Wales to Heathrow is strongly suggestive that the government recognises the need for expansion at Heathrow, even if they are not brave enough to admit it, say analysts. This major investment would make little sense if there was support for a Thames Estuary airport, which could lead to the eventual closure of Heathrow.

Britain's bottlenecked skies

17th July 2012

Menzies To Exit Cargo Business At 4 UK Airports

TUC - Rising long-term unemployment is biggest threat to improving job prospects

Long-term jobless figures highlight the fate of Remploy workers, says Unite

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