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Airport workers set for strike ballot in row over wages

Staff at Aberdeen International Airport could take action between May and July.

Aberdeen: Workers may strike at the airport this summer.
Aberdeen: Workers may strike at the airport this summer. Google 2019

Workers at Aberdeen International Airport are to be balloted for industrial action.

Unite the union said the vote referred to "a pay claim for 2019 and following proposals to close the final salary pension scheme".

The ballot will open on April 5 and close on April 23.

If members back the strike action, Unite said it would likely take place between early May and late July with an overtime ban during the same period, which would cause "widespread disruption".

The union said a 60-day consultation issued by the airport in January on closing the defined benefit pension scheme broke an agreement made with ACAS in 2016 to keep the scheme open to existing members. The airport has denied this.

The dispute in Aberdeen is similar to one ongoing at Glasgow Airport, where Unite is also balloting staff.

Unite also hit out at the latest pay offer of 1.8% to airport staff, saying it represented a real-terms pay cut after the airport increased its after tax profits from £10.7m in 2016 to £19.1m in 2017.

'Unite is balloting our membership on industrial action which, if successful, will take place over the summer period causing widespread disruption'
Shauna Wright, Unite regional industrial officer

Shauna Wright, Unite regional industrial officer, said: The derisory pay offer by Aberdeen Airport alongside the proposed closure to the final salary pension scheme is a shameful attack on the workforce.

"Aberdeen Airport are asking our members to take a real terms pay cut, while the airport through the hard work of the workforce enjoy a near doubling of their profits over the year.

"Unite is balloting our membership on industrial action which, if successful, will take place over the summer period causing widespread disruption. 

"We will support our members every step of the way."

'We have made an offer that is entirely fair and reasonable against a backdrop of a considerable loss of routes in 2018/19 along with wider challenges within the industry'
Aberdeen International Airport spokesperson

In response, a spokesperson for Aberdeen International Airport said: "We are disappointed at the decision by the trade unions to hold an industrial ballot following the rejection of our proposed pay offer.

"We have made an offer that is entirely fair and reasonable against a backdrop of a considerable loss of routes in 2018/19 along with wider challenges within the industry.

"We are currently consulting on our proposal to close our final salary (defined benefit) pension scheme. With employer contributions scheduled to rise significantly it is simply no longer affordable.

"To suggest we have broken any agreements with Unite in regards to the company's pension arrangements is simply incorrect.

"We are of course open to continuing discussions to reach a resolution acceptable to all parties."

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