Unite secures pay deal at Prestwick Airport

Dispute ends after pay and conditions boosted by up to £2,000

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Unite members based at Prestwick Airport have voted to accept an improved wage offer bringing the dispute to an end.

The trade union has secured significant improvements to the pay, terms and conditions of over 80 members. On average workers will receive a pay uplift of around £1,500 and for some workers up to £2,000 over the year.

Unite represents workers including airport security, firefighters, airfield operators, ground crew, ground handling, cargo, customer services, and cleaners at Prestwick Airport.

The deal backdated to 1 April includes a basic 6.5 per cent wage increase, two extra days annual leave and a one-off £250 payment. There are also improvements to sick pay provision and on-call payments. Unite has further ensured that the Real Living Wage of £9.90 per hour will be paid as a minimum to all airport workers.

The pay deal follows weeks of negotiations facilitated by the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (Acas) involving both parties. Unite as a gesture of goodwill suspended strike action scheduled to begin on 12 August to allow talks to continue which led to a new offer being put forward by Prestwick Airport management.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said, “Unite has secured significant improvements for our members at Prestwick Airport which is worth for some workers up to £2,000 more in their annual pay. The deal only came about because our members took the brave stance of taking strike action. They should be proud of their action in securing this deal which has delivered better jobs, pay and conditions.”

By 78 per cent on an 84 per cent turnout, Unite members supported strike action at Prestwick Airport in July. Prestwick Airport is a cargo base and hosts significant numbers of military flights and refuels from North America, along with domestic and international commercial flights.

Siobhan McCready, Unite industrial officer added, “We are pleased to secure a deal which achieves our main objectives at Prestwick Airport. Basic pay, sick pay, holidays and call-out payments have all been improved along with all workers at the airport receiving as a minimum the real living wage. The dispute is now over and our members should be congratulated for having the courage to stand up for themselves.”

The airport was taken into public ownership in November 2013 after being purchased by the Scottish Government for £1.

By Andrew Brady

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