Luton airport strikes kick off with walkouts planned over the bank holiday

A series of strikes at London Luton airport have kicked off today, with industrial action planned for a total of 12 days in May, including the bank holiday weekend.

Security guards who are members of union Unite are planning two sets of strikes, following a dispute over their shift patterns.

The first set of strikes kicked off today (Wednesday 1st May) and are planned to last until Sunday 5th May at 8.59pm.

The second set of strikes are planned from Tuesday 7th May at 4.30am until Monday 13th May at 8.59pm.

If you have travel plans via London Luton airport over the affected dates, you may want to leave a little extra time for potential delays at airport security.

It's worth keeping an eye on Luton's Twitter page where the airport is sharing regular updates on average waiting times in the queues for passengers.

A statement on the airport's website explained: "A small number of airport security staff are planning industrial action from 04.30 on 1 May to 21.00 on Sunday 5 May and again from 04.30 on Tuesday 7 May to 21.00 on Monday 13 May. This follows a dispute over a change to shift patterns.

"However, security wait times may be slightly longer than usual. We remain open to discussions with the union to avert the industrial action and will update our website if the situation changes."

A London Luton Airport spokesperson added: "The action involves a small number of security staff, and there has been no disruption to passengers this morning [Wednesday 1st May] with an average wait time in security of five minutes.

"We are focused on minimising the impact on passengers and remain open to further talks with Unite."

The dispute comes after, according to Unite, the airport is attempting to change shift patterns which would affect around 120 security guards and mean they will have to work an extra 15 days a year.

These employees' responsibilities include searches, baggage checks and general security across the airport.

When the union held a ballot regarding potential strikes, it says that 95 per cent of the workers who took part in the ballot voted in favour of industrial action.

Jeff Hodge, Unite regional officer, said in a statement : "Luton Airport is taking a very heavy- handed approach by trying to force security guards to work an extra 15 days. As a result the airport has now provoked strike action over the bank holiday weekend.
"Security guards at Luton Airport work hard and have an incredibly important job to do. The airport needs to take responsibility for the staff shortages by doing what’s needed to recruit new staff rather than heaping all the burden on to its workforce.

"The union offered to put the strike on hold to allow  talks to continue but management is pressing ahead with its changes.

"The airport now faces serious disruption over the bank holiday unless management urgently enters into genuine negotiations."

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