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Irish homecomings back on track as UK baggage handlers call off Christmas strike

Other strikes at British Airways are still scheduled for Christmas Day – but the airline has promised a full flying schedule.

Image: PA Wire/PA Images

A PLANNED STRIKE in the UK by baggage handlers, check-in staff and ground crew employed by Swissport has been called off tonight – meaning Irish expats travelling home for Christmas don’t have to cancel their plans (just yet).

More than 1,500 members of the Unite union employed by Swissport had been due to walk out for 48 hours in a row over pay and conditions.

The strike was called off following negotiations and a revised offer, which Unite general secretary Len McCluskey said the union would recommend to its members.

“No worker likes taking strike action, but often the threat of it is the only way to make headway in very frustrating circumstances,” he said in a statement on their website.

Meanwhile, British Airways cabin crew are still in talks aimed at averting strikes on Christmas Day and Stephen’s Day.

British Airways pledged to run a full schedule on the 25 and 26 December despite proposed industrial action by Unite over pay conditions.

“We are making sure that this attempt to ruin Christmas for thousands of our customers fails,” said British Airways CEO and chairman Alex Cruz.

BA cabin crew industrial action Source: PA Wire/PA Images

Striking nation

British Prime Minister Theresa May is facing calls from members of her own Conservative Party to intervene and tighten legislation to prevent certain strikes because of a series of announced industrial action from organisations such as the Post Office and rail services.

Chris Philp, a Conservative MP, told BBC radio: “Unions have pushed this too far… We need fresh union legislation.”

A Downing Street spokesman said the disruption to people’s lives from strike action was “completely unacceptable”.

“The government wants all parties to get back around the negotiation table, settle their disputes and bring an end to the misery that hundreds of thousands of people are now suffering,” he said.

Industrial action has risen sharply in Britain this year, against the background of a sharp leftward turn in the opposition Labour party under its veteran Socialist leader Jeremy Corbyn.

The number of days lost to strike action in the year to 31 October totalled 304,000 compared to 205,000 days for the preceding 12-month period, according to the Office for National Statistics.

With reporting from - © AFP, 2012

Read: “We’ve had enough”: Nurses have voted overwhelmingly in favour of industrial action

Read: PTSB employees vote overwhelmingly in favour of industrial action

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