Action coincides with first A380 arrival
Airport staff back strike on day biggest plane is due
Glasgow Airport is facing disruption
Workers at Glasgow Airport have voted for strike action on the day that it is due to welcome the world’s biggest aircraft.
The union said almost 500 workers at the airport will take part in the strike between 04:00 on 16 April and 04:00 the following day. It coincides with a media event on the 16th to welcome the A380, the world’s largest commercial passenger aircraft.
This will be the first time the aircraft has been introduced to operate regularly on a scheduled service from Scotland. Glasgow Airport has invested more than £8m upgrading its infrastructure to welcome the aircraft into service. This includes Scotland’s only triple airbridge.
The dispute involves administrative and security staff – and the airport says it will not affect check-in desks, baggage handling or air traffic control.
Hundreds of Unite members in a 75% turnout, voted by 95% for industrial action in a dispute over pay and pensions. Unite members are expected to take action during the mid-April to mid-October period with an overtime ban scheduled to take place during the same period. Unite is also holding a ballot at Aberdeen Airport which will open on 5 April and close on 23 April.
Unite says that the airport issued a 60-day consultation on closing the pension scheme in breach of an agreement reached through the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS) in 2016 to keep the scheme open to existing members. This agreement has saved AGS £12 million in the last three years, says Unite which adds that the latest pay offer of 1.8% represents a real terms pay cut.
Pat McIlvogue, Unite regional industrial officer, said: “The overwhelming support for industrial action on a very high turnout shows the strength of feeling by hundreds of Unite members at Glasgow Airport. The workforce has been treated with disregard, contempt and disrespect. The paltry pay offer on the table is an insult while the boardroom enjoys pre-tax profits of £91 million.”
“If this wasn’t bad enough, there is a proposal to close the final salary pension scheme at Glasgow Airport which breaks existing agreements we have with the company. So, while talks with ACAS are scheduled over the coming weeks, I’m not confident at all that Glasgow Airport management has the awareness and sense to bring this dispute to a positive resolution.
“Glasgow Airport and the AGS Board have been well warned of the consequences of the attack on Unite members’ pay and pensions. Industrial action is now set for the spring & summer period, and the public should know that Glasgow Airport is exclusively to blame for this situation.”
Talks at ACAS are scheduled over the coming weeks between Unite and Glasgow Airport management. The airport is part of AGS Airports Limited group, which also owns Aberdeen and Southampton airports, with all three airports being subject to the pension proposal. Unite represents around 500 workers at Glasgow Airport.
Ken McLeod, president of the Scottish Passenger Agents’ Association which represents Scotland’s travel agents, said: “The possible threat of a strike action on three days during the summer period at Aberdeen Airport, and further strike possibilities at Glasgow Airport between May and October, isn’t good news for the travel trade, or the travelling public.
“With uncertainty over the outcome of the Brexit negotiations, customers are naturally hesitant to commit to holiday dates that many feel will be impacted by whatever outcome is finally agreed. This is despite assurances from not only the Government, but also ABTA and the EU stating that flights will not be impacted this summer, no matter what the ultimate outcome on Brexit might turn out to be.”