Leeds Bradford Airport security staff threaten strike over pay

Leeds Bradford Airport
Passengers faced disruption at Leeds Bradford Airport earlier in the year. Credit: PA

Passengers using Leeds Bradford Airport are being warned of fresh disruption after security staff threatened to go on strike in a row over performance-related bonuses.

The airport was one of several across the country that were hit by long queues during the spring and early summer as Covid travel restrictions were eased and bosses struggled to recruit staff quickly enough to cope with demand.

Now the GMB union says 93% of members had voted to walk out at the end of August if management fails to make a "meaningful" pay offer. The airport has branded the move "cynical".

GMB organiser Rachel Dix said: "All they are asking for is a wage which will afford them a decent standard of living."

The union is calling for a "substantial" increase in the hourly rate paid to security staff. Instead, it says, bosses have implemented "discretionary and performance related bonuses without union involvement". Organisers say many of the staff are not eligible and the amounts being offered fail to address the rising cost of living.

Ms Dix added: "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."

Passengers have faced hours of queues at the airport. Credit: MEN Media

In June the airport was forced to apologise after passengers complained of queues of several hours to get through security.

At the time, it said in a statement: "Unfortunately, these current challenges are an industry wide problem, caused by the speed of withdrawal of travel restrictions and testing which has led to the rapid recovery of international travel. Airports across the country are being impacted by lead times to recruit and train additional staff."

Philip Meeson, the founder of the Leeds-based airline Jet2 was among those to criticise airport operators, saying they were "woefully ill-prepared" to deal with the post-Covid rush.

Airport bosses said the threatened action related to less than 25% of security staff.

Chief executive Vincent Hodder 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 front line 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 agreement and thereby avoid unnecessary strike action.”

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