Unite highlights £691.9m flowing out airport coffers to GIP parent company and shareholders

Unite, the UK’s leading aviation trade union, confirmed today (3 May) around 275 workers based at the nation’s largest airport in Edinburgh are to be balloted on strike action in a dispute over pay.

The trade union is warning of travel ‘chaos’ during the summer unless Edinburgh Airport management get back round the negotiating table with an improved pay offer.

Unite represents the overwhelming majority of the estimated 500 workers based at Edinburgh Airport, which is controlled by Global Infrastructure Partners (GIP).

Edinburgh Airport workers deal with passengers directly in airport security, terminal operations, search areas and process them for flights. The workers involved in the ballot also screen all deliveries, and deal with airside support services.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “Unite’s members at Edinburgh Airport made huge sacrifices during the Covid pandemic. They agreed to reductions in pay and conditions. The workers did all this while working around the clock to keep the airport safe and running.

“The situation is entirely different now with passenger figures hitting over 11m last year, and inflation stands at a 40-year high. Pay needs to keep up with the cost of living - simple. Edinburgh Airport bosses need to make a realistic pay offer to the staff if they are to avoid a summer of travel chaos.”

The ballot opens on 5 May and closes 23 May.

Unite members at Edinburgh Airport have rejected an inferior pay offer to one made to Gatwick Airport staff, where a 12 per cent increase plus a £1500 one-off cash payment has been offered, and accepted by the workforce. The GIP group retains a minority stake at Gatwick Airport through its manager - Global Infrastructure Management.

Unite is citing figures which highlight over the last 7 years that £691.9m has flowed out Edinburgh Airport in payments made to GIP (£304.2m) and shareholders (£387.7m). Workers real take-home pay is estimated to have dropped by around 9.8 per cent over the same period at Edinburgh Airport.

The latest inflation figure shows the cost of living crisis remains historically high with RPI standing at 13.5 per cent.

Carrie Binnie, Unite industrial officer, said: “Unite members’ pay in real terms has been cut by around 10 per cent over the last seven years, while £691.9m has flowed out the airport’s coffers in payments made to the parent company GIP, and in dividends to shareholders. This simply isn’t fair and our members are prepared to fight for a better deal.” 

Unite wants to resolve this dispute at Edinburgh Airport through negotiation but airport management are stubbornly refusing to improve upon the current pay offer in any way.”

The airport is estimated to be the sixth-busiest in the UK attracting around a total of 11.26m people in 2022. In 2019, the busiest ever year for a Scottish airport, Edinburgh Airport recorded 14.7 million passengers.


Notes to editors:



Payment to Parent Company



£85 million


£25 million

£95 million


£228.1 million



£116.6 million

£14.4 million


£18 million

£109.8 million





£387.7 million

£304.2 million


£691.9 million