Glasgow & West Scotland

Glasgow Airport staff confirm 24-hour strike in pay and pensions row

Glasgow Airport Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption A 24-hour strike has been called at Glasgow Airport from 04:00 on 16 April

Staff at Glasgow Airport have announced a 24-hour strike on 16 April.

Unite members at the airport were balloted on strike action in a row over pay and pensions and 95% voted for industrial action.

The union said almost 500 workers at the airport will take part in the strike between 04:00 on 16 of April and 04:00 the following day.

Airport management say they will take steps to prevent any disruption to services.

The dispute involves administrative and security staff - and won't affect check in desks, baggage handling or air traffic control.

Unite also said its members were set to enforce an overtime ban between mid-April and mid-October.

'Real terms pay cut'

Glasgow Airport said its pay offer was fair and reasonable and that contingency plans were being put in place to avoid any disruption.

The vote came after management made an annual pay offer of 1.8% and announced plans to close the final salary pension scheme.

Unite claims the pay offer represents a real terms pay cut and the pension plan breaks a 2016 Acas agreement to keep the scheme open to existing members.

Image copyright PA

The pension proposal has been made to staff at Glasgow, Aberdeen and Southampton airports, which are all part of AGS Airports Limited group.

The results of the Aberdeen Airport staff ballot are expected within the next two weeks.

Pat McIlvogue, Unite regional industrial officer, said: "The overwhelming support for industrial action on a very high turnout shows the strength of feeling by hundreds of Unite members at Glasgow Airport.

"The workforce has been treated with disregard, contempt and disrespect. The paltry pay offer on the table is an insult while the boardroom enjoys pre-tax profits of £91m.

"If this wasn't bad enough, there is a proposal to close the final salary pension scheme at Glasgow Airport which breaks existing agreements we have with the company."

Image copyright NEWSLINE MEDIA LTD
Image caption Unite members at Aberdeen will also be balloted on industrial action

He added: "So, while talks with Acas are scheduled over the coming weeks, I'm not confident at all that Glasgow Airport management has the awareness and sense to bring this dispute to a positive resolution.

"Industrial action is now set for the spring and summer period, and the public should know that Glasgow Airport is exclusively to blame for this situation."

But AGS said to suggest they have broken any agreements with Unite in regards to the company's pension arrangements is simply incorrect.

'Sensible and sustainable outcome'

A spokesman for the company said: "We are extremely disappointed at the decision by the trade unions to take industrial action. We have made a pay offer that is entirely fair and reasonable against a backdrop of declining passenger numbers.

"The consultation on proposals to close our final salary (defined benefit) pension scheme is still ongoing, however, with employer contributions anticipated to rise significantly above the current level of 19.8% it is simply no longer affordable or sustainable.

"We are committed to continuing negotiations with the trade unions and have sought the intervention of the conciliation service Acas in attempt to achieve a sensible and sustainable outcome. In the event of strike action we will implement our contingency plans to avoid any disruption for our airlines and passengers."

Ken McLeod, president of the Scottish Passenger Agents' Association which represents Scotland's travel agents, said this development, plus the uncertainty of Brexit making passengers hesitant to travel, was not good news for the travelling public.

He said: "The added threat of industrial action at two of Scotland's main airports - Glasgow and Aberdeen - doesn't help in any circumstances, because whatever the rights and wrongs leading to this possible strike action, it doesn't do anyone any good."

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