September 25, 2008

Airport Helpline During Strike City of Derry Faces Closure for Two Days


A CUSTOMER helpline has been set up for passengers affected by the closure of City of Derry Airport by a strike this week.

And, as the strike by council workers draws near, a trade union official has called the pay offer to council workers derisory and said that it will "plunge many people into poverty."

Liam Gallagher of Unite and the Derry Trades Council was speaking before the local government workers come out on strike tomorrow.

They are striking over a final pay rise offer of 2.45% that will leave them substantially below the rate of inflation at 4.1%.

Mr Gallagher fears that many public sector workers will suffer heavily with the increase in prices in electricty, petrol, food and mortgages.

Workers will be striking on Wednesday and Thursday this week from 8.30am.

Mr Gallagher said: "For the last five years local government workers, under the National Joint Council, have had imposed pay constraints that were below inflation, and relatively speaking, actually mean a wage cut for 1.5 million workers in England, Northern Ireland and Wales."

"Everyone is acutely aware of the economic downturn and the prospect for workers that next year is going to be gloomy with increases in electricity, petrol, mortgage and food.

City of Derry Airport will be closed on Wednesday and Thursday as staff take part in the nationwide strike.

In a statement the airport apologised for the disruption to passengers and called for the public's support and undertsanding.

Acting Town Clerk, John Meehan, said: "The consequences of Unite union not providing exemption for staff at City of Derry Airport will have a huge impact on everyone throughout the region."

The helpline will operate throughout the week from 9am to 9pm today and Wednesday and from 9am to 5pm on Thursday. The number to call is 028 7130 5039.

The airport web site will also provide regular updates of information.

All airport flights will resume as normal on July 18.

To-date the following services have been cancelled: there will be no BA/Loganair services to Dublin or Glasgow. Passengers who had booked will be contaced directly about re-booking, while the Falcon/ JWT/First Choice Holiday Charter Service on July 16 to and from Reus, Spain, will operate via Belfast International Airport.

Passengers arriving from Reus tomorrow will be transferred to City of Derry airport by bus.

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