Page last updated at 11:33 GMT, Wednesday, 20 August 2008 12:33 UK

Talks over airport strike threat

Check-in desk
Check-in staff are planning two walkouts in Manchester

Talks are taking place in a bid to avert planned strikes that could cause travel problems at Manchester Airport.

More than 97% of union members working as baggage handlers and check-in staff by Swissport at the airport voted in favour of the walkout.

Unite union members are unhappy with a 3% pay offer they branded "paltry".

Union officials are meeting Swissport bosses at conciliation service Acas on Wednesday to hold talks. Two 24-hour stoppages are currently planned.

The first will take place on Wednesday 27 August, followed by another on Monday 1 September.

Better deal

A spokesman for Unite said the union was looking for an improved pay offer before any progress could be made on averting the walkouts.

Swissport said it was "disappointed" by the strike action but said it was drawing up contingency plans to look after its passengers should it go ahead.

Strike action is to go ahead at Manchester Airport

CEO Tina Barbour said: "We will do our utmost to try and ensure that passengers arrive and depart on time and have minimal disruption to their journey or their time at the airport."

In a statement, Manchester Airport said the action would be confined to union members working for Swissport, which provides services for 12 of the airlines operating out of Manchester.

"We very much hope this situation is resolved as quickly as possible," a spokesperson said.

Anyone planning to travel from the airport on either of the strike dates is advised to check with their airline before they fly.

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