A possible strike over below inflation pay rises involving cabin crew and pilot roster crew controllers at Thomson Airways could herald passenger disruption in the run-up to Christmas, Unite, the country’s largest union, warned today (Monday 27 October).
About 30 crew controllers and their assistants, who arrange cabin crew and pilot rosters to Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) regulations to cover for sick colleagues and any unforeseen circumstances, will be balloted from 19 November for strike action in a dispute over pay. The ballot closes on 10 December.
Unite announced the ballot on the eve of tomorrow’s (Tuesday 28 October) extraordinary annual general meeting of the airline's parent company, TUI, in the German city of Hanover.
Unite’s case is that the profitable company rewards other sections of the airline’s 2,500 strong workforce well, but the crew controllers have not benefited and their pay has been severely eroded in relation to the retail price index (RPI) rate of inflation since 2010.
The ballot follows a breakdown in negotiations held under the auspices of the conciliation service, Acas.
Unite regional officer Kevin Hall said: "This is an extremely profitable company that rewards other sections of its workforce very generously and our members in the crewing department see this day in, day out.
“We do not believe it is unreasonable to start to bring our members pay back in line with inflation and the early indications we have had from our members is that this ballot will be well supported.
“Our members earn relatively modest salaries ranging between £21,000 and £29,000-a-year for the skills and dedication they bring to their jobs which ensure the smooth running of the airline and getting passengers away on time for their well-deserved breaks.
“Passengers could face the real threat of disruption in the run to the Christmas holidays, if the crew controllers and their assistants walk out.
“We call on the management to get around the table and negotiate a fair and equable deal that will avert strike action over Christmas and the New Year.”
For further information please contact Unite senior communications officer Shaun Noble on 07768 693940 and/or the Unite press office on 020 3371 2065.
Notes to editors:
- Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with over 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.