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'Business as usual' as airport workers strike

An airport hit by an indefinite strike by workers in a row over jobs said it was "business as usual" today despite the walkout.

Liverpool John Lennon Airport (JLA) said passengers were checking in and all 73 departures today were expected to leave as normal.

Up to 150 members of the GMB union launched the industrial action in a row over plans by Servisair to make 23 workers compulsorily redundant.

The airport said Servisair had drafted in extra staff to cover for the strikers, who mounted a picket line early today.

A spokesman said: "The handling agent has reassured the airport that robust contingency plans already in place will mean that passengers flying with those airlines who use Servisair at Liverpool will not be inconvenienced during this dispute.

"Talks between the GMB union and Servisair are expected to continue to try to resolve the dispute.

"Of the daily passenger throughput at JLA, half of airport passengers travel with airlines, including easyjet, who use alternative handling agents to Servisair and who are not involved in this dispute."

Airport director Andy Gower said: "Naturally we are disappointed that this planned industrial action appears to be going ahead.

"However, the reassurances we have been given by the handling agent involved mean that we expect those passengers whose airline uses Servisair to be able to get away on flights without any problems."

Eddie Parker of the GMB said the strike was being "solidly supported".

Meanwhile, talks are expected to be held to resolve three separate pay disputes involving hundreds of workers at Manchester Airport, which threatens disruption over the August bank holiday.

Unite said hundreds of its members, including baggage handlers, cleaners and staff who refuel aircraft, voted overwhelmingly in favour of industrial action.

A Manchester Airport spokesman said today: "We'd like to reassure passengers travelling over the bank holiday weekend that because the potential strike action only affects 300 staff out of a workforce of 20,000 at the airport, major disruption is highly unlikely. We continue to advise people to come to the airport as normal.

"We are working closely with the companies involved to ensure that they have the staffing capacity to handle the situation should any strike action go ahead."