Strike at Los Angeles airport ends

Washington DC
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Baggage handlers, security personnel, janitors and other service workers at Los Angeles International airport who went on strike on 28 August returned to work today as a busy holiday weekend begins.

Hundreds of people did not work yesterday because of stalled negotiations with airline subcontractors including ABM, Aero Port Services, Air Serv, Aviation Safeguards, G2 Secure Staff, Lee's Maintenance, One Source, Primeflight, Service Performance Company and World Service West.

Subcontractors perform the majority of security, janitorial and passenger service work for American Airlines, United Airlines, Southwest Airlines and other carriers in Los Angeles, as well as San Francisco, San Jose and Oakland airports, says workers union Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 1877 in a statement.

Members of the union contend there is inadequate training, a lack of proper equipment, poverty-level wages and a lack of access to health care.

Labour talks that began in July will resume at the request of Los Angeles mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, SEIU Local 1877 says.

SEIU has also asked airlines to call for higher standards for service and security.

"The failure of the airlines to establish professional standards among airport service work has created a race to the bottom and fuels a turnover rate rivalling that of the fast-food industry," the union states.

The strike ended as airport operator Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA) expects 825,000 travelers to pass through Los Angles from today through 1 September, roughly the same number for the holiday period last year.