Piles of luggage beside baggage belts in airports from Canada to Europe are driving further demand for ground handlers, and adding to summer travel chaos as airlines scramble to bring back workers lost during COVID-19.

Once a cost-cutting and outsourcing target for aviation, ground handlers are now being offered raises, as frazzled passengers take to social media to complain about missing baggage.

The hiring can’t come fast enough as a rebound in travel and badly-needed airline revenue this summer is being weighed by congestion, rising costs and labor strife, after a two-year pandemic vacuum.

The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAMAW), which represents ground handlers, including baggage and cargo handlers, for Air Canada among other carriers, said some Canadian workers are being offered raises and double pay to work beyond eight-hour shifts, a union official said.

“It’s created a bit of a bidding war,” said Dave Flowers, an IAMAW national president in Canada specializing in air transportation.

Flowers said there is no one explanation for the lost baggage, which is rather the result of staff shortages and flight delays that have created a “spiral effect,” resulting in cases of passengers waiting up to seven days to get their bags back.

It’s not clear when such problems would be resolved.

While Dublin airport has cut security delays at departure gates, some arriving passengers are complaining of lost bags and posting pictures online of piled-up luggage.

An Irish Independent journalist who posted a photo of luggage on Twitter, said some bags strewn on the ground had travel dates from weeks and months ago.

A spokesman for the Dublin Airport Authority said on Monday the problem was symptomatic of staff shortages running through the industry.

Fabio Gamba, director of the Airport Services Association, a trade group for the independent ground

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