Security staff in the TGWU union at Manchester airport continued their industrial action with a 36-hour strike beginning at 4am on Friday of last week. Strikers lobbied five of the ten councils that sit on the control board of the airport on Friday morning. They gave out thousands of leaflets, and were encouraged by the overwhelmingly positive response from the public. Later that day stewards addressed a support meeting of trade unionists and campaigners from across the city.
One steward told the meeting how Manchester airport had created a limited company with a workforce of zero. Workers will be made redundant and asked to apply for new jobs with this company. It is offering contracts that would mean some staff losing pay. The numbers of workers transferring to the new contracts has been tiny, despite management's attempts to bribe people with £15,000 when they transfer.
This is offered on condition that those who take it agree to be strikebreakers. A speaker at the support group explained how after 11 September a US inquiry had cited low cost security as a key problem. The US has now nationalised airport security, yet Manchester airport wants more privatisation.
A key management figure was exposed in the Independent on Sunday as having been sacked from the Leicestershire police force for 14 counts of fraud. Workers are furious because even a minor traffic offence ten years in the past disqualifies them from gaining employment at the airport.
The support group agreed to organise for delegations of strikers to speak to their union branches, campaigns and workplaces, and to organise collections. The strike was set to escalate with a 96-hour stoppage over Easter weekend.