Birmingham becomes latest airport to face summer strike threat

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By Harry Kemble
Home » Birmingham becomes latest airport to face summer strike threat

Around 100 security officers, terminal technicians and aircraft refuellers at Birmingham Airport are being balloted for strike action this summer.

Strikes could begin as early as next month which would ‘severely impact Birmingham Airport’s operations, leading to significant delays and cancelled flights’, said trade union Unite.

The trade union added that 75% of the airport’s workers being balloted were security officers working ‘unsociable shift patterns’ for £11.50 an hour.

It added that workers believe ‘recruitment and retention issues at the airport will worsen’ if they don’t receive a ‘significant pay rise’.

Last year, Birmingham Airport workers received a pay rise of 2.8%, while this year they’ve been offered 7.75% and a one-off £850 payment.

However, Unite says this represents a ‘real terms pay cut’.

The Menzies workers, who drive and operate tankers and refuel more than 75% of planes at the airport, have rejected a 9% pay offer, following a 6% rise last year.

The ballot for strike action for Birmingham Airport security guards and terminal technicians closes on 29 June. The ballot of Menzies workers closes on 3 July.

Unite General Secretary Sharon Graham said: “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. These workers will receive their union’s total support during this dispute.”

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.”

A spokesperson for Birmingham 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. 

The spokesperson added: “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.”

The Unite union has cancelled the first two days of industrial action at Heathrow Airport this month while its members consider a new pay offer.

It had initially announced 31 strikes during the summer at Heathrow.

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