Unite warns of travel ‘chaos’ during summer unless improved offer brought forward by airport management

Unite the union confirmed today (25 May) around 275 workers based at the nation’s largest airport in Edinburgh have supported taking strike action in a dispute over pay. 

The strike action was supported by 85 per cent of the membership on a 75 per cent turnout. The trade union is calling on airport bosses to get back round the table with an improved pay offer to avert travel ‘chaos’ during the summer period.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “Unite’s members at Edinburgh Airport have emphatically backed strike action. The pay offer on the table is nowhere near good enough and airport bosses know it.

 A realistic pay offer needs to be put on the table which values our members in the same way as our members at Gatwick Airport. Unite will always support our members in the fight for better jobs, pay and conditions.”

Unite members at Edinburgh Airport 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. 

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.

Carrie Binnie, Unite industrial officer, said: “Unite wants to resolve this dispute at Edinburgh Airport through negotiation. However, we fear that airport management will instead choose to escalate this situation rather than reflect and see sense after the ballot result.

“Unite’s members deserve a pay offer which matches that of other airport workers including those where the owners GIP have a big stake like at Gatwick. It’s up to airport bosses now but they are under no illusions as to the strength of feeling among our membership.”

Unite is highlighting figures which show 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.