August 2012

Pile of tyres fire near Heathrow Airport today (Tuesday)


Southampton first council offering to reverse pay cuts

A year after a long and bitter battle between unions and the council, the Tories have been kicked out and Labour are acting to restore their wages to previous levels. A major victory for trade unionism.

21st August 2012


US Airways flight crew may strike without warning


Kingfisher pilots ground aircraft after months without pay

Pilots in India, some of whom have reportedly not been paid for 7 months are refusing to fly.

21st August 2012


Qantas poised to reveal further cost cutting


Global airports analysis: hubs of activity - which airports are biggest threat to Heathrow?

Should we be looking to Doha rather than Dubai and Abu Dhabi for the middle eastern hub that is the biggest threat to Heathrow's long term future?

21st August 2012


Virgin to launch first UK domestic service in competition with BA

BA to double Heathrow-Dublin flights


Manchester Airports Group Leads Early Stansted Bid Battle

Within hours of BAA announcing that it is to put Stansted up for sale, speculation has begun as to who will end up owning it.


How Americans view wealth and inequality

And people's ignorance of how they are being exploited by the rich probably isn't much better in Britain. A must read article.


Unite's head office - Transport House


Ryanair's O'Leary hits back at fuel scrimping claims


Qantas boss gives up his bonus


Rail regulator says directors shouldn't get bonuses if there are fatal accidents

In fact, why not stop the bonuses for all directors who have failed to prevent fatal accidents to their employees? Health and Safety shouldn't be treated as an optional extra. If you've got money for bonuses then you had money to make your workplace safer.

21st August 2012


Stansted Airport to be sold by BAA

BAA decides not to appeal a 2009 Competition Commission ruling at the Supreme Court and announces that it will sell Stansted Airport.

20th August 2012


Ryanair offers to sell Heathrow slots to win support for Aer Lingus bid


American Airlines Renews Push To Void Pilot Contracts

American Airlines's Flight Attendants Accept Contract Offer


Lufthansa and Fraport Sue Union Over Strikes


Ferrovial sells part of BAA stake to Qatar Holding to fund Latin America push

Ferrovial announcement on the sale

Qatar-BAA deal shows confidence in third runway at Heathrow


United Airlines "loses" unaccompanied ten year old child


Lib Dems to champion new airport in the South East

The latest peice of indecisiveness from the LibDems sees them refusing to back either Heathrow expansion or Boris Island, but calling for a study on a completely new airport somewhere in the South East of England. This would presumably push back any timetable for airport construction back by one to five years, which will fail to satisfy the City or anyone who might want to know if their area will be faced with an extra 70 million vistors a year.

London Mayor calls UK PM ‘totally mad’ over delays to consultation on airport expansion

Lib Dems underline opposition to new London runways

19th August 2012


LFF - How can we get more young people to be more politically active?


BBC- Do zero hours contracts create real jobs? (No)


Lufthansa Cabin Crew Delay Strike Decision

Flight crew union UFO holds off calling for its 10,000 members to back a strike so that the airline has an opportunity to review whether it is really necessary to cut 3,500 jobs, but says that industrial action is looking increasingly likely.

Lufthansa July Passenger Traffic Up 1.9 Pct

19th August 2012


The company that doesn't give Atos about disability

Coalition told it must punish Atos for mess


Pilots vote to support Air France efficiency plan

Air France says that its pilots union SNPL has joined ground staff in supporting a restructure plan that aims to reduce the airline's running costs by 20%.

18th August 2012 


New video appears to show that SA police kettled striking miners then shot them


Asia-Pacific airports record 8.5% passenger traffic increase for first half of 2012



Man in coma loses benefits as he's classified "fit for work"

Yes, the Work Capability Assessments do have a few "flaws"


EasyJet issues strike warning for today on Portugal flights (Friday)

EasyJet pilots call off strike in France


Spain to investigate Ryanair emergency landings

Ryanair denies that its pilots are put under pressure to restrict the amount of fuel they carry after 3 flights by the airline made maydays in a single day after being told to divert from Madrid to Valencia because of bad weather


Ryanair 'planning to axe Aer Lingus routes'


We can’t ignore the Coalition’s plans to change employment law

Left Foot Forward warns that far reaching changes are in the pipeline for employment rights and that everyone should be taking a stand against the removal of some of our most basic rights. What does "allowing a legal officer to hear an employment claim" mean? Will we be denied the right to take our employers to tribunal?

We should be afraid. Very afraid.

17th August 2012


Substantial win for aviation workers in Australia


Possible Federal Aviation budget cut could lead to massive hike in US air fares


Mitt Romney Accused of Airline Union Busting

The politician who hopes to become the most powerful man in the world in a few months is reported to be connected to a company that ran an illegal union busting campaign to stop pilots from organising.

17th August 2012


Etihad eyes 30% stake in Aer Lingus


Air France Asks Passengers For Cash To Refuel


HMRC names most wanted tax dodgers

... but somehow manages to miss some major donors to the Tory Party off the list

The official gallery of rogues


Kingfisher Airlines's losses three times its revenue - Is the end near?


Police fire on striking South African miners - Several reported killed


Judge denies American Airlines request to scrap union collective bargaining agreements

AMR, the parent of American Airlines has had its application at a bankruptcy court to tear up agreements with the Allied Pilots Union rejected, in what was an attempt to save $1 billion. The airline says that it will reword its application and resubmit.

The Judge said that if he had approved the request, AMR would have been able to lay off pilots without restriction and enter into unlimited codeshares.

16th August 2012


Slough council backs Heathrow development to protect local jobs


Suicide rates up - especially among unemployed as recession hits hard


OH Parsons - Disease Brief on Asbestos (main link to OHP site at top of this page)


Boris seizes on post-Olympics euphoria to demand new airport

Boris attempts to use Britain's Olympic success to promote himself and his Thames Estuary airport plans


BBC Newsnight Slams Zero Hours Contracts


Home Secretary blocked relaxation of UK visa rules

A leaked report reveals that Theresa May blocked plans to allow Chinese visitors to visit Britain on a single visa issued in Europe because she did not believe that checks by continental officials were thorough enough.


Trading standards investigates 'bogus' airline

Does it look to you as if "Fair Airways" has pinched part of the Unite logo as well as trying to take money off of hopeful people looking for a job? 


Guardian - Disability hate crime is at its highest level since records began


Three Ryanair mayday calls go out on same day

Questions will probably be asked as to whether Ryanair's low cost model is taking risks by not supplying its aircraft with enough reserve fuel for emergencies, after 3 planes made mayday calls on the same day. The planes were diverted from Madrid to Valencia due to bad weather, but called in maydays because they did not have enough fuel to be put into a holding pattern or divert back to Madrid after the weather had improved.

16th August 2012


HSE's new director is boss of construction company that blacklisted health and safety reps


HSE proposes to scrap Health and Safety law for self employed

The Health and Safety Executive begins consultation on a proposal to exempt self employed people from health and safety legislation where they are the only persons likely to suffer injury or death.

This will encourage bosses to use self employed workers in dangerous tasks to escape liability for accidents and responsibility for providing safe working condidtions. Now THAT is health and safety gone mad!

15th August 2012


Anti-cuts and disability rights demo targets Atos HQ

As the Paralympics gets ready to start, protestors move to raise public awareness of the actions of one of the main sponsors, Atos - which seeks to strip 7 out of 8 claimants of their disability benefits. This is despite the government's own figures indicating that 99.5% of claimants are genuine.

1,500 people a year who were declared "fit for work" by Atos subsequently died and it is believed that many others have committed suicide due to the stress of losing money that they depend on to live with their long term conditions.

If you missed Channel 4's Dispatches or BBC's Panorama on Atos, the links below will remain live for another two weeks.

PLAY C4 Dispatches programme (2 + 3 adverts)

PLAY Panorama programme (BBC iplayer)

15th August 2012


Inflation up - 21.7% increase in air fares is a factor


Unite's Heathrow office with "Reinstate the Turkish Airlines 305" sign


American Airlines faces possible fine of $160 million for maintenance failures


Unite - Police plan for ‘G4S civilian detectives’ should send shock waves across Britain


CAA to change rules to allow more diabetics to work as pilots and air traffic controllers

The CAA gets ready to issue new guidelines on air traffic controllers and pilots that need to take medication to control life threatening medical conditions


Mondragon - The world's largest workers' co-operative holds back the recession


Heathrow Airport Deals With Olympic Exodus

Sky News at Heathrow's Olympic terminal

Heathrow faces busiest day for passengers


Luton airport agreement sets scene for development

Luton airport secures an agreement for a 75% increase in capacity provided all development is within its existing boundary and based on using its current single runway.

14th August 2012


Fire engines stranded at station because of government staff cuts

How many people have died already or will die in the future because cutting staff in the civil service is easier than making the rich pay their taxes?


The Olympic Effect: Heathrow flier numbers decrease by 4.4%

‘Olympic effect’ blamed for fall in passenger numbers at Gatwick

UK airports report dip in passenger numbers during Olympics



Disability rights pioneer Lord Morris of Manchester dies

LabourLeft - Lord Alfred Morris – A True Fighter !


Disabled woman took on welfare system – and won


Top economist joins attack on flop Cameron

Yet another high profile economist attacks the right's knee jerk reaction to the deficit. Cameron and Osbornes' 3 point plan for the recovery based on austerity, austerity and austerity takes another bashing.

Economists make investment plea

13th August 2012 


Court Puts Hold On Kenya Airways' Job Cuts Plan After Union Files Lawsuit


Portuguese ground staff and French pilots at EasyJet threaten strikes from Wednesday


American's Pilot Union Boss Backs A Merger


Approaching the 125th Anniversary of the Match Girls Strike

A report on one of the iconic moments in the trade union movement and a giant step in the fight for women's employment rights and safe workplaces.

12th August 2012


Halting international flights fails to help Kingfisher Airlines as huge losses continue

Kingfisher reports that April through to June saw its financial situation continue to deteriorate. The Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation says that the airline needs an immediate cash injection of $600 million to keep operating. It is unknown if billionaire Vijay Mallya will be prepared to bankroll the airline or whether he is looking to cut his losses and run.

11th August 2012


As Pilots Stand Firm, American Airlines's Plan Takes Hit


Flybe plummets on eurozone woes


How airlines make money


London hotel prices 87 per cent higher during Olympics

Has the profiteering of London hotels over the Olympics damaged the UK's tourist and aviation industries?


Air Canada Low-Cost Division To Launch 2013


Finnair Swings To Q2 Operational Profit


Demand for aviation in 2012 may be better than original IATA estimates

A second analysis of passenger traffic for the first half of 2012 suggests that global civil aviation growth is at 5%. A report by IATA released a week ago had indicated that growth had dropped to 2%. No explanation is given for the discrepancies between the two sets of figures.

IATA - Slowing Passenger Growth Trend Continues

10th August 2012



ABTN Analysis: IAG faces Iberia challenge


Olympic stars hit back at Cameron and Gove over slashing of sports budgets

While the reports have been both confirmed and denied by different parts of the government, the announcement that the ConDems have approved the sale of 21 school playing fields and plan to remove the obligation for 2 hours of sports tuition per week for children has been condemned by athletes.

What is clear is that some sports budgets have been cut dramatically. And we should be wary that a disproportionate number of our successes have been at sports that are only taught at private schools or to those who can afford to pay for tuition. How many inner city comprehensives teach rowing, sailing or dressage?

It's no good "inspiring a generation" if the opportunities to take part simply do not exist for many youngsters. The truth is that youth unemployment and extortionate university tuition fees are creating a "lost generation". Raising the state pension age is only forcing people to work longer and preventing jobs being opened to the young. 

And as for the Paralympics - we have seen evidence (see our article and links, 30th July) that it is planned to remove disability benefit from 7 out of 8 people - depriving them of funding that they might use for recreation and training.

This is a short sighted and cynical government, whose incompetence and bias towards the richest 1% will damage this country for decades to come.

10th August 2012


American Airlines Pilots Reject Tentative Contract

American Airlines' proposals to restructure its way out of bankruptcy have been struck a blow after pilots voted by a large margin to reject new terms.

American pilots reject tentative agreement, TWU ratifies

9th August 2012


UK CAA warns of disruption to issue of new pilot licences


APD campaign nears goal of 100,000 supporters


Will UK follow Italy and send bosses to jail for corporate manslaughter for worker deaths?

Earlier this year, two former executuives of a Swiss construction company operating in Italy were each sentenced to 16 years in jail for their part in exposing workers to asbestos. A possible 3,000 victims were involved. The accused were not in court to hear the verdicts and will no doubt appeal the sentences. However, this judgement, if recognised as persuasive under European law could open the way for other directors to be held accountable for workers deaths.

9th August 2012


Lufthansa Union Threatens Strike Action Over Job Cuts And Pay


Unite condemns Cardiff call centre that pays prisoners £3 a day and fires workers


ITF short video (3 minutes) in support of the 345 sacked Turkish Airlines workers

Video interviews of supporters of the reinstate305 campaign

Melanie Krefka from OH Parsons

Rhys McCarthy from Unite

Sharon James from the International Transport Workers' Federation

9th August 2012


Morning Star - What could we expect if Boris Johnson takes over as Tory leader?

An entertaining "prat" (Johnson's own description of himself) - but do we really want the country run by the Conservative Party's own version of "Baldrick"? Be afraid, be very afraid.


Air Canada May Be Nearer Pension Deal


The latest newsletter from SERTUC


Demands made to Met Police to explain why no action taken on female genital mutilation

The Green Party's Jenny Jones has called for the Metropolitan Police to explain why it has yet to convict a single person of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM, also known as female circumcision). Over 20,000 girls in the UK are believed to be at risk. The Met was directed to set up Project Azure to protect young women from this practice, which can have severe physical and mental health consequences and has resulted in a number of deaths.

Where there has been evidence that one girl in a family has been "cut", Ms. Jones asks why there were no follow up investigations to ensure that sisters and other family members are protected.

8th August 2012


Kenya Airways releases more details on its restructuring plan


White Paper lists concerns that US and American Airlines merger may stifle competition



Turkish Airlines' chair called to resolve dispute

The International Transport Workers' Federation (of which Unite is a member) calls on Turkish Airlines Chairman, Hamdi Topcu to come to the negotiating table in an attempt to end a bitter dispute that has lasted two months and seen the sackings of 345 workers. The ITF has also lobbied the Turkish government through its embassy in London to reverse its decision to make strikes in the aviation sector illegal.

7th August 2012


If women can box at the Olympics - why can't men compete at the uneven bars?


Willie Walsh on Bmi, Iberia and the Olympics

Walsh announces a second restructuring program at Iberia and talks about IAG's plans for the future


Adidas shamed at Olympics over its poverty pay while sponsoring athletes for millions


Environmentalists urge President Obama not to cave in to US airlines pressure over CO2

Sixteen environmental groups write to the US President to ask that he holds back from supporting a Senate bill that would make it illegal for US based airlines to take part in the EU's Emissions Trading Scheme.

7th August 2012


Thousands could face payouts after Tories' 'slave labour' cash grab

A high court ruling declares that "workfare" schemes are legal, but that sanctions for leaving the scheme must be clearly explained to participants. Huge numbers of jobseekers took part in zero wages work experience without being aware that their benefits could be removed if they failed to complete their placements, opening the way for potential claims against the government.

7th August 2012


What makes an air-traffic-control mistake a "near-miss"?


IAG looks at stake in American Airlines

IAG and Delta both express interest in buying a stake in American Airlines.


New disability test will 'cause (more) suicides'


Walsh confirms the demise of Bmibaby

Willie Walsh announces the end of consultation with employees and states that bmibaby will close from September 9th.


Kenya Air To Shed Staff To Cut Costs


Metro cleaners strike again


Worst May Be Over For Some Of India's Airlines

Kingfisher's withdrawal from some of the most competitive routes may allow India's other airlines to raise ticket prices. Jet Airways and SpiceJet have been upgraded by financial analysts Bank of America-Merryll Lynch, giving hope that India's aviation industry can begin to see a profit from the country's growth. 

6th August 2012


Pensions’ ‘bombshell’ for Remploy workers condemned by Unite


Fewer fake passports being found by UK's border force


Olympic Jess and Mo stick two fingers up to the anti-mixed race, anti-Muslim Mail

Left Foot Forward hails the success of mixed race and immigrant athletes who have helped Britain shine at the Olympics while exposing the Daily Mail as a paper for small minded hate mongers.

5th August


Skyport says a fond farewell to readers

The last issue of Heathrow Skyport was published yesterday, ending 36 years of our airport's local weekly newspaper. Trinity Mirror group says that it has not been possible to continue publication due to the tough economic conditions.

Among the thousands of articles published in the Skyport, it coverered a number of industrial issues and printed several letters from Unite and the HLC, including the BASSA and Swissport disputes. We will miss Skyport as a way of keeping airport workers informed on developments in trade union matters and as a source of local news. We wish all of their staff well in whatever careers they pursue in the future. 

HLC letter to Skyport

4th August 2012



Virgin blames losses on APD

Virgin reports £80.2m losses


IAG reports loss

IAG To Restructure Iberia After H1 Loss

IAG to cut jobs at Iberia

As airlines release their first half results for 2012, the news is bad for employees at Iberia, where job losses have been announced. Critics of the restructure will look more closely at the accounts to see how much of IAG's losses are exceptional (a one off, rather than a long term problem) and whether the purchase of bmi is a major factor.

3rd August 2012


Airline Price-fixing Settlement For BA and 7 Other Airlines Approved


Lufthansa posts €20m first half loss


Planes to pay locals for noise if Heathrow expands


Kofi Annan quits as special Syrian envoy

Former UN Secretary General KofI Annan quits in what should have been a blaze of publicity over the lack of support he received for a peaceful resolution to Syria's civil war. Instead, the coverage of the Olympics was barely interrupted.

Syria is a country divided - where war crimes are happening every week. Annan deserves the attention of the media and the UN Security Council in bringing an end to these senseless civilian deaths and executions. 

2nd August 2012


IATA reports slowdown in demand for air travel

Passenger numbers up but IATA remains gloomy


ETS Foes Move Towards Global Alternative

As the US moves to make it illegal for its airlines to pay Europe's emissions tax, there is some slight hope that an international scheme can be agreed to reduce carbon dioxide as seventeen countries indicate support for a United Nations based alternative to ETS.

2nd August 2012


Privateers to make a killing in the NHS

As privatisation spreads within the NHS, waiting lists grow longer and private patients get priority - the company bosses slash staff and wages to boost their profits and bonuses.

But there is even more to fear. New proposals could see top jobs in privatised hospital trusts going to people who have criminal records, have been bankrupt or are banned from holding a directorship. What scoundrels do the Tories want to hand our health service over to (and why)?

The truth is that many MPs and Lords have financial interests in the private companies that want to take over our NHS. So why have the media not been bomnarding us with tales of conflicts of interest?

Bankruptcy and criminal record may be no bar to top NHS roles

MP who recommended Circle Healthcare was on their payroll for £50,000 a year

1st August 2012


British airports under threat from rise of Gulf hubs, says Etihad boss


Ryanair reputation for shoddy customer service in tatters after giving passenger full refund


Britain's next Prime Minister? (If Tories get their way)


Senate Panel Passes Bill To Block EU Carbon Law

The US has taken steps to make it illegal for its airlines to pay into the EU's Emissions Trading Scheme. This dangerous precedent puts US law in conflict with EU law, meaning that Europe will have to decide what action it will take to enforce its CO2 tax, or risk its authority to legislate being undermined.

There is now a serious risk of a trade war between the two continents. If no action is taken against US airlines that fail to pay, it seems likely that China, Russia, India and other nations will implement similar laws.

1st August 2012


Unite film targets loan sharks

Watch Unite's film "21 days until the money runs out" (3 minutes)


Funding plan for Thames airport shot down

The CEOs of British Airways and BAA attack a proposal to partly fund a new airport in the Thames Estuary by putting a levy on airlines currently using Heathrow. A second proposal is that money raised from the future closure and redevelopment of Heathrow for non-airport purposes could be used to give BAA a controlling stake in the new hub - but BAA's parent Ferrovial has indicated that it has no interest in the move. BA has already said that it will not move from Heathrow to an estuary airport, even if one ever gets round to being built.

1st August 2012


Thomas Cook airline sale finalised


Southend is given official status as sixth London Airport