BIRMINGHAM AIRPORT WORKERS VOTING ON POTENTIAL STRIKE ACTION
Around 100 employees including security officers and terminal technicians employed by Birmingham airport, as well as aircraft refuellers employed by Menzies, are being balloted over industrial action which could begin as the beginning of July
This would be the worst possible time for the airport as it would a shortage of essential staff during the summer holidays, a peak travel time for any airport. It would also increase likelihood of customers having their flights delay or even cancelled.
Birmingham Airport was already named as worst airport in the UK for delays for the second year running so these strikes would throw the airport into further chaos.
Unite the Union will open two separate ballots for the workers regarding strike action.
Among their concerns is the fact that three quarters of the Birmingham Airport workers being balloted are security officers who work are paid an hourly wage as low as £11.50 for shift patterns described as “unsociable.”
A spokesperson for the Union the Unite said: “The workers say that without a significant pay rise, recruitment and retention issues at the airport will worsen. This will further the delays the airport is well known for.
Last year, the workers received a pay rise of just 2.8% when the real rate of inflation, RPI, was running at 13.8%, equating to an 11% pay cut. This year, they have been offered 7.75% and a one off £850 payment.”
They added: “However, this is a further real terms pay cut as RPI inflation is still running high at 11.4%. The offer would leave many workers unable to pay their bills as well as causing more staffing shortages.
The Menzies workers, who drive and operate tankers and refuel over three quarters of planes at the airport, have rejected a nine per cent pay offer. This is again under RPI inflation and does not factor in the six per cent pay rise they received last year, which due to rocketing inflation was a significant pay cut.”
Unite general secretary Sharon Graham added: “Both Birmingham Airport and Menzies can afford to give their workers a fair pay rise and that is exactly what needs to happen.
Unite workers at Birmingham Airport are fed up with pay cuts, especially when they know both companies have combined profits of more than £80 million. These workers will receive their union’s total support during this dispute.”
The ballot for Birmingham Airport security guards and terminal technicians closes on June 29 while the ballot for Menzies workers closes on July 3.
Unite regional officer Sulinder Singh said: “Strike action would cause a summer shutdown at Birmingham Airport but this would be entirely the fault of the airport’s leadership and Menzies.
Many of the workers at the airport are really struggling to make ends meet. This is simply unacceptable when both companies have enough money to pay them fairly. The employers need to come back to the negotiating table with offers that are acceptable to our hard-pressed members.”
Birmingham Airport issued a statement on Friday seemingly trying to put customer’s minds at ease with regards to potential cancellations.
A spokesperson for the Airport said: “We note the union’s decision to ballot for strike action, despite our current pay offer being well above the current UK average. A substantial majority of our workforce has already had a significant pay rise having accepted the company’s offer.
We will continue to discuss with this union ways to find an acceptable outcome. In the event strike action does take place, we are confident the impact will be limited, and we do not anticipate any cancellations.
Our advice to customers remains to arrive at the airport at least two hours before their flight departure time, and in line with their airline’s advice.” Unite said the workers are being balloted “after facing two years of substantial pay cuts”.