Airwave staff begin strike


Staff at emergency services network Airwave have begun two days of strike action in a dispute over compulsory redundancies.

Airwave, owned by Australian firm Macquarie, announced last month that it is to make 10 per cent of its workforce redundant and will freeze salary reviews until September 2009.

The Communication Workers Union said Airwave could have avoided the strike, which could disrupt emergency network services, if it had retracted its decision to impose compulsory redundancies.

The strike action involves 100 Airwave workers, with a picket line at its Rugby quarters.

Staff were to strike from 7am today for 24 hours then at 7am on Monday for a further 24 hours.

CWU deputy general secretary Andy Kerr said: “It is unfortunate that staff have been pushed into the difficult decision of taking strike action. However, the refusal of Airwave to reconsider compulsory redundancies has left us no choice.

“Voluntary approaches to redundancies can make a huge difference to staff at difficult times and we will fight unnecessary compulsory cuts at all times.”

Airwave chief executive Richard Bobbett said he was “deeply disappointed” that staff had resorted to striking.

Said Bobbett: “I want to reassure all our customers, and the general public, that the Airwave service will be unaffected by this strike action. We have robust business continuity arrangements in place for all eventualities from flu pandemics to national emergencies.

“I am deeply disappointed that the CWU have been determined to take strike action tomorrow. Although we have held lengthy talks, the CWU have been unable to propose any compromise.

“At the moment over two thirds of the redundancies will be voluntary and we remain positive that this number will be increased further over the next few days.”