Glasgow & West Scotland

Summer strikes announced at Glasgow and Aberdeen airports

Glasgow Airport Image copyright Getty Images

Two 12-hour strikes have been announced at two of Scotland's busiest airports next month.

Following stalled talks between the AGS Airports group and Unite, industrial action has been announced for the summer holiday period at Glasgow and Aberdeen terminals.

The strikes are the latest in a long-running row over pay and pensions.

AGS said "robust contingency plans" would be put in place to ensure "business as usual" at both airports.

Unite members at the two sites will walk out from 04:00 until 16:00 on 7 and 10 June.

But Unite bosses say further dates - and disruption to summer travel - are forthcoming.

Image copyright Getty Images

AGS Airports Limited owns Glasgow, Aberdeen and Southampton airports.

According to the union, Glasgow Airport posted a £74m profit after tax in 2017, up from £51m in 2016. Aberdeen Airport increased its after tax profits from £10.7m in 2016 to £19.1m in 2017.

The union claims the company closed the consultation process on pensions on Friday, as it attempted to close a defined benefit pension scheme.

This, they say, broke an Acas Agreement made in 2016 to keep the scheme open to existing members.

'Good faith'

In April, Unite members at Glasgow and Aberdeen airports voted in favour of industrial action over a pay claim for 2019, and the proposals to close the final salary pension scheme.

However, talks between Unite and AGS through Acas led to the postponement of industrial action after an improved pay offer of 3% for 2019 and a commitment to continue negotiations over the pension scheme proposals until the 31 May.

Pat McIlvogue, Unite's Glasgow officer, said: "Unite entered talks with Glasgow Airport in good faith to try and resolve this dispute. On this basis we postponed our industrial action in April to allow talks to continue.

"However, while there has been movement on the pay offer for this year it was sabotaged with a bonus being potentially reduced.

"There has been no movement on the pension scheme proposals. AGS have closed the talks on pensions despite the initial increased cost being reduced by a quarter of a million pounds from the employers initial estimate, and without exploring the counter proposals tabled by the Unite to reduce costs to maintain the scheme.

"The pension scheme is both affordable and sustainable."

He added: "The company are insistent upon abolishing a scheme they agreed to only three years ago, while the boardroom enjoys pre-tax profits of £91m. Our members deserve better. So, this is not about saving money, it is about attacking our members' terms and conditions.

"Industrial action is now set for the summer period, and the blame for that lies fully with Glasgow Airport."

'No willingness whatsoever'

The union's Aberdeen representative, Shauna Wright, said: "Unite members at Aberdeen Airport will join those at Glasgow Airport taking industrial action to fight against this co-ordinated attack by AGS on our members' pension scheme. We have repeatedly warned AGS that if they do not keep to the agreements they made with us then industrial action would be inevitable.

"Let's not forget that this attack comes despite Aberdeen Airport having enjoyed a near doubling of their profits. Industrial action is now set for June and further dates will be forthcoming causing widespread disruption during the summer period due to the broken promises of AGS."

A spokesman for AGS Airports, said: "We are extremely disappointed that the trade unions have served notice of industrial action. We have been in talks since January and, despite attending Acas, there has been no willingness whatsoever on the part of the unions to engage in a constructive negotiation.

"We made a significant improvement on our initial pay offer which was increased from 1.8% to 3% in line with their demands. This was rejected by the trade unions without further consulting their members.

"In regards to our final salary pension scheme, it is simply unaffordable with the cost to the company due to rise to 24.7% per employee. We tabled a generous compensation package for the remaining members which again was rejected by unions without further consulting their members.

"As always, we remain open to continuing dialogue, however, we will now put our robust contingency plans in place to ensure it will be business as usual at Aberdeen and Glasgow airports for our passengers and airlines on both Friday 7 and Monday 10 June."

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