March 2013

Samoa Air boss defends charging passengers by weight

Will more airlines start charging passengers according to their weight?

Austerity Threatens EU Competitive Position

Businesses, trade groups and EU officials claim that austerity measures are damaging growth and making it difficult to maintain Europe's competitive position in the global economy

IAG increases its offer for Spanis carrier Vueling

Dubai overtakes CDG, eyes beating Heathrow by 2015

Civil aviation workers have their say!

UK Border Agency 'not good enough' and being scrapped

Following the failure of the government's program to improve productivity by a restructure and a cut to the department's budget, Theresa May responds with another restructure and a further 10% cut in funding. Why does the HLC think that this will only lead to longer queues and an even bigger backlog of cases waiting to be processed?

28th March 2013

MS - Peers' failure to restrict secret courts 'disastrous'

The House of Lords fails to block a government plan for secret courts, where defendents may be denied the right to see and challenge the evidence against them. A sad day for British Justice. How long before these courts are not merely used for terrorists, but for protestors, social campaigners and trade unionists?

American-US Airlines Merger Gets Court Approval

Consider more night flights at Heathrow, says London business group

ES - Heathrow noise 'hinders pupils’ reading progress'

Economist: Expanding Heathrow westwards could give London the airport capacity it needs at reasonable cost

The latest stories on capacity and congestion at Heathow

Iberia boss steps down

Lufthansa Set To Fight In Wage Dispute

Lufthansa and its unions look likely to do battle once again as the airline plans further cost cuts and employees fight to protect their pay and conditions.

27th March 2013

BATA Comment on Publication of Aviation Policy Framework

Babcock nets £440m Heathrow and British Airways contracts

Babcock further increases its business at Heathrow after being awarded contracts for maintenance of baggage handling systems and British Airways ground support vehicles

Heathrow preparing for busiest week of 2013 so far

UK government backs US security checks at UK airports

India's six largest airlines expected to post combined $1.6 billion loss this year

TUC - Thousands of civil servants to lose right to strike

The TUC calls upon the House of Lords to block the government's Crime and Courts Bill, which would make it illegal for another 3,000 public sector workers to take part in strikes or other industrial action.

Nations meet to hammer out 'global solution' to aviation emissions

MPs face workfare protesters' wrath

Labour faces the backlash of a highly questionable decision not to oppose the government's attempt to make itself immune from the consequences of breaking the law over using benefit sanctions to force unemployed people to work for free

Airline passengers should pay by their weight

Sounds like it could soon be the end of my flying days...

Workers fight for our rights

Unite targets government’s welfare hypocrisy in new advertising campaign

Unite are hosting an event this Thursday (28th March) to make the public aware of how this government is marginalising the most vulnerable people in society as part of its plan to divide and rule and to distract us from blaming those people who really caused the recession - Cameron's millionaire friends and his party's donors

Government “underestimating” impact of airport hub capacity, says Heathrow

Union Rules Out Lufthansa Strikes Over Easter

ITF and Hava-Is lodge Turkey ILO complaint

The ITF and Turkish union Hava-Is are making a complaint to the International Labour Organisation that Turkey broke its own laws by making strikes in the aviation sector illegal. As a signatory to the ILO, Turkey is bound to recognise a number of worker rights and freedoms and cannot simply dissolve them for political convenience. 

Democracy only works if you bother to vote.

Return your ballots for General Secretary

Heathrow bosses’ new bid for third runway

UK is losing hub traffic to Dubai and Istanbul, says Heathrow Airport

European Unions meet to discuss Air Pollution in Airports

On the 21st and 22nd of March, trade unionists from across Europe travelled to Denmark for a conference on Air Pollution in Airports. Nine delagates from Unite attended from Heathrow, Gatwick and East Midlands Airport, including a nymber of HLC members.

The central topic of the conference was a type of air contaminant called "ultrafine particles". These are extremely small particles that are not (yet) covered by safety legislation, but have been linked to strokes, heart disease, cancers and lung disease. The aim of the conference was to engage unions from across the EU to collect data at their local airports that can be used to present a case for stricter controls of UFPs and create a template for best practice at airports to reduce emissions.

Studies so far have suggested that the workers exposed to the highest risk of occupational disease from UFPs are baggage handlers followed by caterers and plane clears. Airport security workers, especially those who work externally are also believed to be at risk.

The attendees agreed that it is not realistic to hope for an early solution to the problem. We will have to carry out tests in dozens of airports across Europe. We will have to lobby MEPs to support an amendment to safety legislation to cover smaller particles. We will have to work with employers to change working practices and reduce the amount of engine use in the vicinity of the worlkplace. This could take 5-10 years before we can hope to achieve a comprehensive change that would substaially reduce the risk to our unions' members in aviation.

23rd March 2013

USA to close 149 control towers in response to Republican demand for budget cuts

MS - Government 'squashing safety laws'

The Morning Star warns that the government is planning more attacks on worker health and safety protections inder the cover of its "Red Tape Challenge"

Strike Shuts Beirut Airport

Industry furious that Budget 'puts beer before aviation

ITF - Petition to re-open the Helios Accident Investigation

The International Transport Workers' Federation launches a petition to reopen the investigation into a fatal crash involving a Cypriot plane in 2005. The ITF calls for the investigators to recognise that the accident should not be blamed on a single individual, but on the process of liberalisation, which has lead to corners being cut and risks being taken in a brutally competitive market.

Hounslow council seek public views on Heathrow expansion

Stop delaying Heathrow decision says Richmond Council

TUC - 'Humiliating defeat' in Lords for shares for Cameron's rights proposal

The House of Lords throws out a government plan to allow employers to "buy" their workers basic employment rights in return for a few shares in the company.

Pressure mounts on TUC to call general strike as Chancellor plans £2.5 billion more cuts

UK air passenger traffic on the rise, but still 8% below 2007 peak

Dare we suggest that high passenger taxes, high unemployment and below inflation wage growth (or pay freezes) might have somethng to do with this?

ABTA calls for improved transport links and airport capacity

Windsor MPs slam Heathrow night flights proposal

ITF warns against aviation ‘flags of convenience’

The International Transport Workers' Federations warns of aviation employers demanding that their workers accept the weaker set of rights, where an airline is based in a different country from its employees

Spanish unions to back new Iberia cost-cutting plan

Iberia's unions appear ready to recommend a mediator's proposals to their members

TUC pre-budget rally calls on Chancellor to admit he's got it wrong

As the Chancellor gets ready to present a budget that is expected to ignore many financial experts, impose even more austerity and provide yet further hurdles to growth, the TUC calls on the government to change its direction and stop Britain from entering a race to the bottom.

13th March 2013

The Future of Employment Rights

A warning for all reps about the coming changes to employment rights. Be afraid. Very afraid.

Government reviews proposals for longer runways at Heathrow

Virgin staff face pay freeze and job cuts as carrier suffers record £135 million loss

An internal memo at Virgin leaves staff in fear of their futures

Heathrow planning 1,700 extra night flights over Windsor Castle

SOCIAL MEDIA BLOG: Q&A with Heathrow's head of passenger communications

IAG Backs Arbiter’s Iberia Job-Cuts Plan After Compromise on Pay

IAG's board has backed a mediator's recommendation for a revised package of cuts at Iberia. Unions have yet to sign off on the proposals, though significant progress has been made to limit the pay cuts of Willie Walsh's original plan.

Pilots and flight crew would have to agree to pay cuts of 14% while ground staff would see salaries reduced by 7% (as opposed to an original proposal for wages cuts of up to 35%). However, over 3,100 jobs would still be lost and with Spain's current unemployment situation, it is unclear how union members will ballot on the proposals.  

Iberia unions and IAG close to agreement to save 666 jobs

Families still face Bedroom Tax misery despite eleventh hour concessions

American Airlines celebrates first air freight flight from Heathrow

Progress for women comes to standstill

As the world celebrates International Womens' Day, PricewaterhouseCoopers reveals that progree towards equality for women and men has stalled under this government and that inequality has begun to increase again 

London Heathrow Airport Access Incompetent, Irish Disabled Man says

US cabin crew unite against knives on planes

The ITF takes up the cause of cabin crew, who are dismayed at a decision by the USA's Transportaion Security Administration to allow passengers to carry knives up to 2.6 inches long on aircraft. Such items have been banned since small knives were used in the hijacking of aircraft in the 9/11 attacks. 

IAG boss Walsh offered major share bonus for successful turnaround by 2016

BA boss Williams' 2012 pay outstrips that of IAG chief Walsh

End NHS selloff, says grieving mum

ES - "Inhuman": Heathrow airport bosses urged to stop night flights

Richmond Heathrow Campaign submits alternate options report

MP Mark Reckless launches petition against Thames Estuary airport

The debate goes on - while new trade heads off to the Middle East and our European competitors

Heathrow improves financial position, but still incurs loss in 2012

SAS Sells Ground Handling Unit To Swissport

USA Today - Middle East becomes the world's new travel crossroads

One of America's top newspapers reports on the growth of Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Doha as hubs, while London lags behind. The blame for Britain's capital failing to keep up must be laid at the door of this government, with its ongoing failure to support development at Heathrow.

CBI - More flights would boost UK trade by £1 billion

6th March 2013

ITF - International support builds for Iberia workers

Spanish strikes dent IAG traffic

Walsh Told Not to Draft BA Pilots To Break Iberia Strike

While Willie Walsh claims that 95% of passengers on strike affected flights have been found other seats, the figures are giving us a different perspective with a 20% drop in passengers

G4S wins new British Airways deal

Foster to present Thames Hub airport plans to Davies Commission

Lord Foster continues to plug his design for a Thames Estuary airport, despite many airlines saying that they would not use it. If the design is supported there is a very real risk that up to £40 billion of taxpayers; money could be spent on a white elephant. It would also take longer to build a new airport than to expand Heathrow, allowing London's rivals a head start in building trade in developing markets.

Planning permission granted for new Heathrow hotel

Thomas Cook to cut 2,500 jobs in UK

Further evidence that the government's high taxes on air travel and lack of a long term strategy on aviation is costing the UK jobs and growth

Unite - BA staff to show solidarity with Iberia

Unite members in British Airways have announced that they will make a show of solidarity with workers at IAG sister airline Iberia with a peaceful protest on Wednesday (6th March). Supporters of the employees of Iberia, (who face up to 4,500 job cuts and massive reductions in pay) should meet at the Unite office on Bath Road at 13.00.

BA’s flying pickets suppport Iberia in Madrid

Striking Iberia workers protest against job cuts

Iberia strikes: round two starts today (Monday)

4th March 2013

Unite retired (but still active) member, Iggy Vaid was today presented with a gold medal for long service and contributions to the trade union by General Secretary, Len McCluskey. Attendees among the 30 odd people present also included Southall and Ealing MP, Virendra Sharma

TUC - Directors' pay rising seven times faster than average wages

Why do we struggle to believe David Cameron when he tells us that we are all in this together? Perhaps the massive bonuses to loss making bankers and fat pay rises to directors might have something to do with it?

Aviation chiefs predict travel chaos amid US spending cuts

Public service cuts forced on Barack Obama by the Republicans will see control towers closed and huge numbers of air traffic controllers laid off. Smaller airports may see pilots left to make their own arrangements for take offs and landings, while larger airports are expected to experience significant delays.

Osborne’s credibility is in tatters as UK manufacturing slumps

Friday the 8th of March is International Womens' Day. Click on the image for a list of events

Ryanair threatens to cut Stansted Airport flights

Ryanair makes to seek attention with more outrageous statements after landing fees are raised at Stansted

Willie Walsh denies airlines are leading a "phonry war" against airport charges

UKIP - The ‘nasty party’ on the side of rich bankers, warns Unite leader

Unite warns ordinary people that UKIP have no interest in looking after their interests. This is another right wing party that is looking after the interests of the 1%, as shown by UKIP's failure to back a cap on banker's bonuses this week.

Nigerian aviation unions suspend strike pending deal implementation

Governments, employers and unions agree to back ILO framework

The ITF reports on the latest ILO Global Dialogue Forum. Sadly the consensus achieved at the forum on governments, employers and unions working together is unlikely to be supported by our right wing leaders back in the UK.

2nd March 2013 

Employers admit that weaker employment protection won't encourage them to create jobs

BBC - South East 'losing out' to Amsterdam airport, warns Schiphol boss

Dubai Airport Pax Traffic Up 15% In January

Heathrow's competitors continue to expand while the government puts off making a decision of the future of UK aviation

Green Party promises to deliver the social justice that Labour won't guarantee

Ryanair To Appeal As EU Blocks Aer Lingus Move

A Ryanair attempt to takeover Aer Lingus is blocked by the EU