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12 June 2019

Scottish airport strikes against attack by "ideological capitalists" - fight for better pay and pensions

Socialist Party Scotland

Hundreds of Unite trade union members at Glasgow and Aberdeen airports are striking to defend pensions and for better pay. So far there have been two days of strike action with more planned. Socialist Party Scotland gives our full solidarity and support.

The strike has had a large scale impact with long queues at airport security and flights affected and grounded when the action started on 7 June.

There have been well-attended pickets with management trying to keep trade unionists as far away as possible from main airport buildings and supportive passengers.

Mechanics, firefighters, security, admin, car park attendants are all fighting together. One picket told Socialist Party Scotland that airport owners make massive profits and have "engineered the disputes to try and break the union as they are ideological capitalists".

Unite's planned programme of strike action and an overtime ban up until October is a response to massive attacks by airport bosses AGS: a paltry 1.8% pay offer, really representing a pay cut, is combined with the closure of the final salary pension scheme.

Unite should continue to coordinate the action and also look at involving AGS workers at Southampton airport. An important fight will be to try and prevent the use of sub-contractors and agency staff to break the strike by appealing to workers to not cross pickets.

"Wall of silence"

A Unite spokesperson said: "Multiple times this week, Unite has requested to meet with management to seek to remedy the dispute. This has been met with a wall of silence. We cannot stand by while the boardroom of AGS enjoys pre-tax profits of 91 million, and let them close our pension scheme.

"We continue to call for further negotiations to end the dispute, but we have been ignored and will be continuing with our action until we are heard."

This dispute shows again the rising anger of workers over pay and attacks on terms and conditions. In the public sector, council workers in Dundee, Angus and West Dunbartonshire are also balloting to strike. Oil workers on the North Sea platforms have recently taken strike action.

We have seen the victory of the Glasgow equal pay strikers after a 48-hour strike. Scottish teachers also won big concessions on pay after a mass demonstration and the threat of a national strike.

This shows workers' action gets results and that if trade union leaders call action workers respond. The national and Scottish Trade Union Congress leaderships should take note and call co-ordinated action for pay rises to meet the cost of living, stop attacks on pensions and jobs and end austerity.

This dispute in the airports, a key expanding part of the economy, has the potential to have a major impact.

Socialist Party Scotland supports the demand of Len McCluskey and Unite for a general election to drive out the Tories and for a Corbyn government. AGS clearly want a race to the bottom in wages and conditions in order to boost profits for the company, as is typical with big business capitalists.

We need to fight for socialist solutions where the major 150 companies, banks and key infrastructure such as aviation is brought under public ownership and democratically controlled and managed by the working class as a whole.




http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/articles/29238




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