Hundreds of workers at Manchester airport voted unanimously last Saturday to go on all-out strike in their battle over pay. The vote was held at a mass meeting of 350 strikers at the airport. The security staff, members of the TGWU union, held a four-day stoppage that halted services over the lucrative Easter holidays.
Their strike is against wage cuts, changes in shifts and massive reductions in annual leave. Workers were due to strike for 24 hours on Friday of this week. After eight weeks in dispute they decided to escalate the action if the airport board don't put forward a new deal in a week.
The strikers and their supporters believe the assault on their pay is motivated by plans to privatise the airport, which is owned and controlled by ten local councils. The councils sparked the dispute by pushing for what TGWU representative Dave McCall called 'a cut price service based on burger bar rates of pay'. In an attempt to smash the strike Manchester airport has set up a limited company.
It is trying to lure people into strikebreaking with an offer of £15,000 to transfer to the company. Pickets have been angered at the news bias over their dispute. The Manchester Evening News gave a Labour councillor free rein in a column to justify the pay cuts, sackings and new 'flexibility'.
He said they were warranted to maximise profits by Manchester airport. One picket told Socialist Worker, 'Our strike is about an issue that is at the centre of politics today - workers' rights. What they are trying to do here is what they are doing everywhere. Bosses impose longer hours and more work. Workers like us have less time to spend with our families and our kids. Going on all-out strike will be hard, but we have no choice.'
Messages of support to TGWU, Transport House, Merchants Quay, Salford Quay, Salford.