Servisair strike escalates; turns nasty

An attempt to demoralise stricken handling firm, Servisair, could see Liverpool John Lennon shut down, after Britain’s General Union (GMB) revealed that fire fighters and safety officers could be drafted into an indefinite strike.

Despite the loss of 150 of its staff members to the picket lines, Servisair has refused to surrender to GMB’s demands, believing contingency plans sufficient to handle airport traffic.

The firm has claimed that the coming bank holiday – one of the busiest days of the year for UK airports – will place no strain on airport operations; GMB has accused Servisair of employing “scab” labour from Dublin, an infraction that could cause difficulties for the airport as a whole.

Under the conditions of the strike, Servisair is not allowed to involve John Lennon officials in negotiations or damage limitation. The firm is also forbidden from hiring contractors to complete the work of absent Servisair employees.

If the firm has enlisted replacement staff members from other companies, GMB is entitled to hold the airport accountable. In other words, GMB will attempt to escalate industrial action until the airport shuts down or the issue is resolved. Peel Airports continues to deny reports that it borrowed staff from other airports.

Eddie Parker, a spokesperson for GMB, expressed a need for further strike action: “our members are unhappy with what Peel Airports have done in breaking the agreement and have therefore requested that we ballot on potential industrial action.” Fifty-five emergency fire fighters will vote on industrial action over the next three weeks.

Strikers want Servisair to guarantee jobs at John Lennon Airport. The firm recently asked 51 employees to re-apply for 27 positions.

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