Strikes: Mail, rail and airline workers set for Christmas week walkouts

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The days before Christmas will see a wave of strike action with trains, post offices and airlines all affected.

Members of the Communication Workers’ Union (CWU) are striking at crown post offices, with 3,500 estimated to be taking part in the walkout over the closure of branches. The strikes do not affect the Royal Mail but it has been reported that some staff will not cross the picket lines. The strikes began today and will continue until Christmas Eve.

The industrial action on Southern Rail has continued, with the much-maligned rail service seeing further strikes today and tomorrow. The dispute centres on the removal of guards from trains, which ASLEF says would reduce passenger safety, particularly on busy commuter trains. Up to 300,000 passengers could be affected by the walkouts.

British Airways cabin crew from the Unite union have planned strikes on Christmas Day and Boxing Day over what they have described pay at barely above minimum wage. Half of mixed fleet staff take on extra jobs on their days off, a Unite survey found. Talks aimed at halting the dispute are due to be held today.

Swissport baggage handlers and other ground staff at 18 airports, also represented by Unite, are planning to walk out on Friday and Saturday, Christmas Eve, unless talks held today resolve a pay dispute. If the strikes go ahead they could see 1,500 Unite members walkout over the pay restructuring which would see a freezing of overtime pay and no real term pay rises.

Pilots on Virgin Airline are taking industrial action short of strikes, as a result of a dispute surrounding recognised unions. From December 23 pilots will “work to rule” meaning they will adhere strictly to contracts. Most pilots are members of the Professional Pilots’ Union, which voted for action by 88 per cent on a turnout of 80 per cent. The union says it speaks for 70 per cent of Virgin’s 900 pilots.

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