September 25, 2008

Airport Job Fears Airlines Won’t Tolerate More Strikes: Warning

THE acting head of Derry City Council has warned that further strike action by council employees could put jobs at City of Derry Airport at risk.

John Meehan is seeking another meeting with the Unite union to again ask for airport staff to be exempt from any further industrial action.

Unions have warned more strike action is likely but John Meehan says airlines won't tolerate further closures.

"The priority is that the jobs at the airport are not vulnerable.

"If we have a position where the airport is turned on and off as a facility for airlines then it would not become something they would be keen to do in the long term," he said.

"We have got to actually ensure its future, that is our key priority."

The City of Derry airport was closed for two days this week, causing major disruption to tourism in the North West.

The latest development comes as it emerges that passport applicants are facing a mid-summer logjam after processing staff confirmed they would be staging a three-day strike next week.

Union representatives warned that the service would be severely disrupted during what is the busiest month for UK passport applications.

Around 120 staff at the Identity and Passport Office in Belfast will join colleagues across the UK on the stoppage over management restructuring plans.

The employees are the latest public sector workers to walk out over working conditions.

Earlier this week local government staff staged a two-day strike over pay while coastguard staff begin their own 48-hour action yesterday.

Education and library board, housing and council workers all took part in the two day action.

All libraries were closed in Belfast, however all were open in the North Eastern area.

A walk out by staff at Belfast Zoo also led to the popular tourist attraction closing to the public during the strike.

Bin collections were also affected in a number of council districts.

While parents were forced to make alternative arrangements for their children attending summer schemes which also shut down.

The Housing Executive said it had plans for low staff numbers due to the Twelfth and maintained essential services. But offices in west Belfast, Londonderry and Ballycastle closed.


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