Edinburgh Airport workers’ pay dispute could spark travel chaos

 Friday, May 26, 2023 


Passengers could face a summer of “travel chaos” after Edinburgh Airport workers voted to take strike action in a dispute over pay, a union has warned.

Unite balloted around 275 workers, including members employed in security, terminal operations and search areas.

It said 85% backed industrial action on a 75% turnout, and is now calling on airport bosses to tender an improved offer to “avert travel chaos” during the summer. Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “Unite’s members at Edinburgh Airport have emphatically backed strike action. The pay offer on the table is nowhere near good enough and airport bosses know it.”

Unite said its members at Edinburgh Airport rejected an “inferior pay offer” to one made to staff at Gatwick, where a 12% increase plus a £1,500 one-off cash payment was accepted by the workforce.

Edinburgh Airport previously said it had offered an 11% pay rise along with a £1,000 cost of living payment, describing it as “fair and competitive”.

Unite claimed members’ pay had been cut by around 10% in real terms over the last seven years, and said workers were “prepared to fight for a better deal”.

Ms Graham added: “A realistic pay offer needs to be put on the table which values our members in the same way as our members at Gatwick Airport.

“Unite will always support our members in the fight for better jobs, pay and conditions.” Edinburgh Airport branded the ballot result “disappointing”.

A spokesperson said an improved offer had been made with a 50% increase in the cost of living payment proposed, which has not been balloted on.

They added: “Unite is insistent on comparing this offer to the one made at Gatwick but the important context missing from that comparison pushed by Unite is that this 11% increase at Edinburgh Airport would be the third pay rise given to the team since 2020, representing an overall increase of 19.6%.

“In contrast, this is the first offer made by Gatwick in the same timeframe – a point Unite purposefully fails to note.” Airport bosses are said to have “made every attempt” to avert industrial action and “remain open to negotiating”.

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