Easyjet Flights Threatened With Strike Disruption

Easyjet passengers could face delays and disruption to their plans this week, due to threatened strike action by pilots.

The UK-based budget airline company is asking its passengers to check that industrial action in France and Portugal has not affected their flights before they journey to the airport.

Strike threats by French pilots are in force for tomorrow, Wednesday August 15, and for this coming Friday and Sunday, August 17 and 19. The strikes, backed by the French pilot’s union, the SNPL, are the latest development in an ongoing dispute over pay. While the dispute only involves French pilots, some disruption to easyjet flights in and out of the country is also very likely. The action is also expected to cause more disruption than usual as the strikes are to occur over the period of a religious holiday in France.

A spokesman for the airline was quoted by the Daily Mail, saying, ‘The company regrets that some of its pilots have chosen to move ahead with an industrial action rather than coming back to the negotiations table, particularly in this busy period for holidaymakers. The management remains open to discussion and calls the SNPL union representatives to resume negotiations.’

Meanwhile, it is reported that staff at two of Portugal’s main airports, Oporto and Faro, are also planning industrial action on August 15 and 17, with the threat of further disruption to travellers there at this busy holiday time. Resorts in both of the countries affected by the planned strikes are among some of the most popular holiday destinations in Europe.

 

Public sector strikes could delay travellers by up to 12 hours

Passengers could face delays of up to 12 hours and flight cancellations next week when immigration officers go on strike following a row over public sector pensions.

 

Normand Boivin, Heathrow’s operating officer has said travellers may be held on aircrafts for their own safety.

 

He said: “Modelling of the impacts of strike action on passenger flows at Heathrow show that there are likely to be very long delays of up to 12 hours to arriving passengers”.

 

“The delays at immigration are likely to be so long that passengers could not be safely accommodated within the terminals and would need to be held on arriving aircraft”.

 

He added: “This in turn would quickly create gridlock at the airport with no available aircraft parking stands, mass cancellations or departing aircraft and diversions outside the UK for arriving aircraft”.

 

Gatwick have warned that passengers may need to rebook their flights due to possible disruptions at border zones. 18,000 immigration officials are expected to go on strike next week.

 

Scott Stanley, chief operating officer said: “Gatwick continues to work closely with the UK Border Agency and its airlines to ensure robust contingency measures are put in place to ensure disruption to passengers and airport operations is kept to a minimum”.
He added: “We would advise passengers to check with their airline to find out what plans and arrangements have been put in place. We recognise that this will be a challenging time for all airport passengers, and we would warn passengers to be prepared for the potential for significant disruption at the border zones on November 30”.

 

On November 30th more than two million workers will take part in a 24-hour walkout. In an announcement earlier this week civil servants from across Whitehall would be called in to cover for immigration officials, a move which has been criticised by trade unions.

 

Article by Charlotte Greenhalgh

 

Strikes in France – potential disruption for travellers this weekend

Eurotunnel have warned that strikes may affect their services this weekend including delays on road approaches to Eurotunnel check-in.

Those who have already purchased a ticket to travel with Eurotunnel this weekend are advised to make their way to check in as normal, but to expect possible delays and disruption. The company have stopped taking bookings for some Folkestone to Calais and Calais to Folkestone journeys over Saturday, Sunday and Bank Holiday Monday.

More information is available on the Eurotunnel website

Aer Lingus pilots vote for strike action

Aer Lingus passengers face mass cancellations this summer after a pilots vote approve industrial action.

Disruption of flights could start as early as next Tuesday, with travellers facing widespread uncertainty unless an agreement is reached between management and members of the Irish Airline Pilots Association (Ialpa).

Refusing to work on designated days off and turning up for work an hour late are two of the methods selected to cause disruption by almost 90% of pilots.

Aer Lingus stated that if the action does take place it may cause all flights from Dublin and Cork could be cancelled from June 7th, but it said that talks with the association – a branch of the Impact union – were continuing.

“This withdrawal of flexibility will destroy our ability to operate a proper schedule as we will miss our airport slot times, parking stands and gate positions and will be unable to fulfil flight connections for customers”, said Christophe Mueller, chief executive officer of Aer Lingus. “This may lead to a full cancellation of operations from Tuesday June 7.”

Being asked to work extra during peak hours and a general shortage of pilots have been the main reasons cited behind the action.

A spokesman for the association said that pilots at Aer Lingus agreed to a pay cut earlier this year, in exchange for assurances that they would not be asked to work for more than five consecutive days. It claims the airline has reneged on this agreement.

The airline says it has been in talks with pilots for some time in an attempt to develop new rosters.
Aer Lingus recently began making cuts, including staff redundancies and a reduction of its long-haul capacity, in an effort to save £85 million. Cabin crew responded by striking in January, forcing the cancellation of dozens of flights.

Earlier this month the airline announced operating losses of £47 million for the first three months of 2011.

Easter break safe from BA cabin crew strike

Holidaymakers travelling with British airways could give a sigh of relief yesterday when it was revealed their will be no strike from the BA cabin crew – temporarily at least.

Instead peace talks will continue for a 28-day extension, to prevent further peace talks.

Just days after both Unite and BA consulted a clinical psychologist, in an effort to heal the deep rift between the two parties, Unite’s new leader, Len McCluskey, and BA’s new chief executive, Keith Williams meet to try and compromise and reach a deal over the dispute.

However, throughout the 28-days of peace talks the union can still call a strike if they wish, at any point during this time.

The risk of a strike hitting the busy Easter holidays or Royal Wedding are now decreasing but there are still worries it could hit the school half-term break.

Meeting senior figures, Mark Hamilin is said to be acting as ‘a long term relationship builder’. Mr Hamilin, who’s company specialises in dealing with issues of trust, was acknowledged in a joint statement by BA and Unite who said their process of ‘cooperation building’ had been ‘assisted by a highly-regarded external company’.

BA and the union said it hoped that ‘the optimism of recent weeks can be turned into a reality’.

Insiders have said the 28-extension is a ‘positive sign’, and an agreement was hoped for.

BA and the union said it hoped the ‘the optimism of recent weeks can be turned into a reality.’

Easter chaos predicted for holidaymakers

British Airways cabin crew have voted for further strikes that could disrupt the Easter holiday and the royal wedding.

The Unite union, which represents many of BA flight attendants have said the strike showed ‘determination’ to continue this long running dispute.

No dates have been named, however the union have to strike once within 28 days and will have to provide at least seven day’s notice before a walk out.

In the potential firing line for the strike is the Easter break and the May half-term holiday, with the risk of action going will into July. Anyone flying in for the wedding could also see disruptions. Unite general secretary Len McCluskey has already warned families: ‘Don’t go on holiday.’

Mr McCluskey has met BA chief executive Keith Williams, saying: ‘We continue  to be in discussions with the company  to find a solution to this long-running dispute.’ Even with this latest strike vote secured, he still hopes fresh talks will resolve this on-going dispute.

The timing of this strike will leave thousands of holidaymakers unsure of travelling, a tactic aimed at hitting BA where its hurts – the school holiday bookings.

A BA spokesman said: ‘This is a time for cooperation, not confrontation.

‘We hope talks will bring an end to this dispute, which is what the overwhelming majority of our cabin crew want.’

The airline has however insisted that BA have a contingency plan in place for such strikes and they will ‘keep BA flying’.

Bob Atkinson, a travel expert at travelsupermarket.com, advised passengers to get up-to-date contact information for airlines and take out travel insurance with a strike clause in case of disruption.

The latest vote – the fourth official ballot in two years – follows a re-ballot of a poll in January which the airline had challenged.

The row started almost two years ago over cost-cutting. BA cabin crew carried out 22 days of strikes last year which cost the airline more than £150million.