Summer of chaos ahead

British holidaymakers travelling to the Algarve could face chaos this summer after British baggage handlers at 17 UK airports, including Heathrow and Gatwick, voted to strike this week in a dispute over pay.

Members of the Transport and General Workers Union, employed by services group Aviance, backed a strike in protest at a 2.5 per cent pay rise offer.

At the time of going to press, the union said fresh talks would be held with Aviance management to try to avert stoppages. It said members had voted for full industrial action but no dates had yet been set for strikes. But it warned that any action which did take place would affect most major airports and airlines.

Aviance, which is owned by the Go-Ahead group, employs more than 2,300 workers at Aberdeen, Belfast, Birmingham, Cardiff, Coventry, Edinburgh, Gatwick, Glasgow, Heathrow, Jersey, Leeds Bradford, Liverpool, Luton, Manchester, Stansted, Southampton and Teesside airports.

A spokesperson for Britain’s Department of Transport said: “We hope that they resolve their differences quickly so that the travelling public will not be put to any inconvenience. But it’s a matter for the two sides to negotiate.”