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Industrial action halts as Gibair and Unite negotiate pay dispute

Passengers disembark yesterday's British Airways flight. Photo by Johnny Bugeja.

Unite the Union members at Gibair have halted selective industrial action at Gibraltar International Airport, after negotiations over a pay claim continued on Friday afternoon.

The dispute saw Gibair ground handlers delay all flights departing Gibraltar on both Thursday and Friday by as much as two hours 40 minutes.

The Bland Group, which owns Gibair, issued a new proposal to staff.

The proposal included a 4% increase in salaries to all staff other than those on minimum wage, 2% increase in employer pension contributions, and those on minimum wage will be receiving an 8% increase as per legislation.

The action was paused at 6pm on Friday and another ballot on the offer is to take place between Saturday, July 30 to Monday, August 1.

The action saw Gibair employees work “slow” and not in uniform, with passengers airing their frustrations with delays.

Some 11 commercial British Airways and easyJet flights were delayed departing Gibraltar, leaving passengers stranded on the tarmac for hours.

But the delays also impacted arrivals, which saw passengers wait, in some cases for an hour, onboard for Gibair staff to prepare the flight to disembark.

Tempers flared on Thursday evening for passengers on the 8.30pm easyJet flight, which was already delayed arriving in Gibraltar.

The flight arrived at around 9.15pm, some 45 mins delayed.

But due to the industrial action, passengers faced further delays disembarking and collecting their baggage.

A spokesman for the Royal Gibraltar Police confirmed passengers grew irritable when waiting in baggage reclaim.

He said passengers began banging on windows inside the Airport, as they could see their luggage on the tarmac and demanded to collect their bags rather than wait for them to be placed on the carousel.

Officers attended at 10.30pm and the situation diffused.

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