Talks between unions representing airport baggage handlers and employers Aviapartner broke down on Saturday without a result, and more flights can be expected to be cancelled today. The strike, which was lunched without warning earlier in the week, is a last-ditch attempt by the three unions representing baggage handlers to wring concessions from the company over undermanning and pressure of work.
But according to Aviapartner, unions are being intransigent, and display a “lack of empathy” for passengers who have had their holiday flights cancelled, and without the chance of getting back luggage that was already checked in. Many passengers, more than 100 at one point, were forced to sleep overnight at the airport for lack of anywhere else to stay. Many were transfer passengers whose baggage was checked in at their original departure.
Airlines affected include Aer Lingus, EasyJet and TUI (photo). Brussels Airlines itself partners with Swissport, and flights are operating normally.
Talk were due to continue on Sunday. Meanwhile booked passengers with the affected airlines have been advised to stay at home and await more information. TUI, meanwhile, has diverted five flights to take off from Charleroi, Antwerp and Lille. The company’s other 16 scheduled flights for Sunday will take off, but passengers were advised to bring only hand luggage.
Meanwhile at Ostend airport, Aviapartner employees have filed legal notice of a strike planned to take immediate effect and last for an undetermined length of time. The company has been suffering difficulties with the departure of several major airline partners, mainly in the business sector. In addition, costs have risen thanks to wage demands and overtime claims made by the 40 baggage handlers working at Ostend. The company has filed for protection from its creditors, and is now reported to be looking for a buyer.