Luton airport workers to strike over May Bank Holiday weekend

Workers at Luton airport, including baggage handlers, firefighters and security staff are to stage strikes over the May Bank Holiday weekend in disputes over pay and zero hours contracts.

The Unite union warned of disruption to flights unless a series of rows with the airport and contractors are resolved.

Workers voted in a series of ballots to take industrial action, which will be held at different times between 7am on May 25 and 6.30am on May 30.

Unite officer Jeff Hodge said: "Luton airport now faces severe disruption unless management get around the table and negotiate a fair deal which recognises the contribution workers make.

"Turnover at Luton airport is up, company profits are up and passenger numbers are up. This April alone saw passenger numbers growing to 1.3 million people. That's the 15th consecutive month of over a million passengers passing through the airport.

"Workers at Luton airport deserve a decent rate of pay for their work and to be treated fairly by management.

"These ballot results demonstrate that members will no longer accept paltry pay and unfair treatment while their bosses constantly squeeze every last penny to boost profits."

Workers directly employed by Luton airport in several different roles including firefighters and security guards voted overwhelmingly for strike action.

Unite members at Menzies Aviation, which undertakes baggage handling, also voted in favour of strike action over pay.

Workers employed by Clece Care Services Ltd, which provide assistance at the airport to passengers with reduced mobility, also backed industrial action over zero hours contracts and pay.

Luton airport said in a statement: "We are disappointed that Unite members have chosen this course of action and recognise the uncertainty this news will cause for our passengers.

"We are working with the 73% of staff who did not vote to strike, to mitigate the impact of any action.

"We also remain committed to continuing discussions with Unite in the interim before any such action can take place. We will keep passengers regularly updated via our website."

The airport said it had offered a 2.5% pay increase plus £150 for every employee to be paid in July 2018, adding: "Next Tuesday, our leading profit share scheme will pay every qualifying employee £5,145."

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