Monday, 3 September 2012

Birmingham Airport bosses force confrontation with Unite

Unite is warning management at Birmingham Airport that they are forcing a dispute with workers over a paltry pay offer after a three year pay freeze.
The union is now in the process of making preparations for an industrial action ballot.
The company's final offer is a 2.5 per cent increase and a one-off non-consolidated payment of £150. But the retail price index has leapt 13 per cent since February  2009, workers' pay has been frozen since then.
Workers have also endured fundamental changes to their terms and conditions, changes to the pension scheme, and the owners of the airport are now proposing changes to shift patterns. For the period 2010/2011 Birmingham Airport made a profit after tax of £5.2 million.
The airport is increasing passengers and opening up new routes. It is even extending the runway to allow long haul flights to the east coast of the USA and Pacific basin regions such as Singapore and Australia. But workers' pay has been frozen and their terms and conditions have been slashed.
Unite has held two consultative ballots with its members and the company's offer has been rejected on both occasions. In the most recent ballot 76.5 per cent of members returning ballot papers rejected the company offer.
Unite regional officer, Peter Coulson said:
"Birmingham airport is taking off but management have grounded their workers' pay. Staff have endured years of pay freezes and to make matters worse their pensions and conditions have been slashed.  Unite has even proposed third party intervention from Acas to assist in reaching an agreement  in the negotiations but even this has been decisively refused by the airport. Our members' patience is running out.
"The airport are forcing a dispute and we have no option but to prepare for an industrial action ballot. There is still time for the owners of Birmingham airport to get serious and listen to our members reasonable demands."
At the last set of negotiations on 30 August, Unite offered to allow ACAS to assist in conciliation in an attempt to break the deadlock, this was totally and decisively rejected by the company. 
Unite represents security staff, baggage handlers, air side safety , technicians,  information desk staff, engineers, administrative staff.

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