Socialist Worker

Gatwick baggage handlers win employment tribunal

Issue No. 2056

Two GMB union members who were sacked from their baggage handling jobs at Gatwick by Aviance, the airport ground services company following allegations of theft from passengers’ luggage have been awarded £58,400 and around £50,000 in reparation by Croydon Employment Tribunals for their wrongful dismissals.

The compensation awards were made at a Remedies Hearing at the Croydon Employment Tribunal on Thursday 14 June.

David Christie who lives in Sussex and Martin Hoare who lives in Crawley, and their families celebrated their win and the restoration of their reputations.

The GMB is now looking at further legal action against Aviance for the distress and personal injury that the two workers have suffered since the false accusations and their dismissal in the run up to Christmas 2006. It has not been possible for the two men to find work since their dismissal, with the allegation hanging over them. They have suffered illness as a result of the unfounded accusation, stress and economic hardship.

The two were accused of taking electronic equipment from the luggage of a flight to Ghana. The union represented the two men throughout the internal investigation and appeal process. Avaince never at any time involved the police despite their accusation of 200 passengers having been robbed and their belief that they had identified the perpetrators.

GMB organiser Adrian Baker said, “From the very start it was obvious that these two men were entirely innocent of the charge of stealing from passenger luggage. Aviance’s behaviour has been unforgivable. GMB took their allegations apart at the internal investigation and appeal showing clearly that these members had done nothing wrong. Despite the overwhelming evidence to the contrary Aviance went ahead and sacked them. It is no wonder that the Employment Tribunal threw the cases out and awarded the maximum amount of compensation it was possible to give.”

GMB organiser Paul Clarke said, “Aviance’s managing director obviously did not have a clue about the baggage handling operation and blatantly withheld evidence the company relied upon in the tribunal. GMB hopes that the company will learn for its costly mistakes and in future adhere to both its own policies and procedures and UK employment law.”

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Article information

Wed 20 Jun 2007, 15:55 BST
Issue No. 2056
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