Leeds Bradford security staff vote to strike over pay dispute

Security staff at Leeds Bradford airport have voted to strike in a dispute over pay.

GMB union members will walk out at the end of August, threatening to leave thousands of passengers grounded. Jet2, Ryanair and Tui all operate flights from the airport.

The union is calling for an immediate substantial increase in the hourly rate of pay for security staff, and slammed a recent implementation of discretionary and performance-related bonuses by the airport, saying it “goes nowhere near addressing the rising cost of living”.

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The airport said that since February 1, it had increased total remuneration of frontline security staff by 11% and more highly skilled security staff by 16%, adding that, of these amounts, 2.5% in each case related to a company performance-related payment.

It said the strike relates to less than 25% of security staff and that it received the notification of industrial action “without warning and without discussions”.

The union said 93% of its staff voted in favour of the strike, proving the “strength of feeling” of members.

Rachel Dix, GMB organiser, said: “This is a powerful result, with a very high response rate – most of the votes were cast over the first two days of the ballot, such was the strength of feeling and motivation of our members to ensure they are finally heard.

“All they are asking for is a wage which will afford them a decent standard of living.

“Our members have been incredibly patient but the discretionary performance-related bonuses that have been offered are not trusted, too late in the day and are no substitute for an hourly pay increase.

“They are not prepared to wait any longer for the respect and remuneration they deserve from their employer, but they are genuinely open to constructive negotiation that will pave the way to a satisfactory resolution.”

Vincent Hodder, chief executive of Leeds Bradford airport said: “We are disappointed at this cynical move to industrial action before requesting any negotiations.

“Despite the damage to the aviation industry during the pandemic, we have done everything we can to increase the pay of our frontline staff, and feel that pay increases of up to 15% is a considerable step in improving conditions.

“We remain committed to working with GMB and our staff to reach an agreement and thereby avoid unnecessary strike action.”

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