April’s round up of key Unite wins ranges from a bumper pay deal for engineers keeping the rides moving at Chessington World of Adventures to a real living wage rise at Prestwick airport.

A dispute over a real terms pay cut for engineers ahead of the multiple bank holidays in May could have seen the rides at Chessington come to a halt. The highly trained engineers are responsible for the smooth running of the park and for ensuring its safety systems are fully operational, without which the rides won’t work. Having secured union recognition at the site in August 2022, Unite fought back against the real terms pay cut and was able to negotiate a much improved offer under the auspices of Acas. Said Unite general secretary Sharon Graham: “This was an excellent result for our members who for the very first time stood together in unity and ensured that their employer made a fair pay offer. This pay victory is a fresh vindication of how Unite’s relentless focus on enhancing jobs, pay and conditions is delivering for members.”

Workers responsible for repairing, maintaining and administrating the domestic electricity grid for London and the South East and East of England also celebrated in April as they secured an 18 per cent pay rise after the threat of industrial action. Around 1,300 workers, employed by highly profitable UK Power Networks, were initially offered a real terms pay cut, but responded by organising for action which could have seen prolonged blackouts across the capital and the south and east. Unite regional officer Jane Jeffery said: “This victory was achieved through the hard work and solidarity of Unite’s reps and members at UK Power Networks. Workers who want better wages and working conditions should join Unite and organise their colleagues to do likewise.”

On to Prestwick, Scotland's fifth-busiest airport. Prestwick Airport is a cargo base and hosts significant numbers of military flights and refuels from North America, along with domestic and international commercial flights. Unite represents workers including airport security, firefighters, airfield operators, ground crew, ground handling, cargo, customer services and cleaners. In April Unite secured significant improvements to the jobs, pay and conditions of members at Prestwick Airport: “It’s a deal which is worth up to 18 per cent for some workers, and it ensures that all workers are paid the real Living Wage as a minimum. Unite does what it says on the tin: we deliver for our members.” said Unite general secretary Sharon Graham. The deal delivers valuable benefits for Unite members with basic pay, holidays and call-out payments improved and a guarantee of no zero hours contracts at the airport.

And that’s not all, the threat of strikes by NG Bailey electricians working at the Atomic Weapons Establishment in Berkshire were cancelled after an almost 10 per cent pay deal was secured, Imperial Logistics van drivers delivering components for BMW’s Cowley plant in Oxford won a pay rise worth over 13 per cent, while over 300 Arriva bus drivers and engineers in Newcastle and Northumberland secured a one year pay deal worth almost 12 per cent – commenting Sharon Graham said: “Once again, Unite’s renewed and laser-like attention to improving jobs, pay and conditions has paid off for our members.”

So the message is clear, if you are not in the union, join Unite, and if you are a member recruit a colleague today.