Sunday, June 16, 2024

Hundreds of UK airport staff members threaten strikes ahead of summer holidays

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HOLIDAYMAKERS could face major disruption this summer with airport security staff threatening strikes.

Union chiefs say around 300 workers could walk out in a bitter dispute over pay, with the summer holidays just around the corner.

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Staff at Glasgow and Aberdeen Airports have threatened to walk out this summerCredit: Getty
Security staff have complained of being overworked and understaffed

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Security staff have complained of being overworked and understaffedCredit: Getty
The strikes could coincide with the school summer holidays this year

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The strikes could coincide with the school summer holidays this yearCredit: Getty

The walkout threats have arisen amid claims of “fatigue, exhaustion and stress” among staff working “beyond six hours with no break”.

Staff at both Glasgow Airport and Aberdeen Airport have rejected a four per cent rise backdated to January and a £500 one-off payment.

They will now vote on whether or not to take strike action, with summer holiday travel set to begin in the coming weeks.

Unite described the offer by bosses ICTS Central Search Workers as “miserable”.

Pat McIlvogue, the union’s lead industrial officer for Scotland‘s aviation sector, said: “ICTS Central Search workers undertake safety and security critical tasks.

“Without them, the airports simply can’t operate.

“We’ve no option but to move towards balloting for action ahead of the holiday rush.”

The firm employs around 220 workers at Glasgow and 100 at Aberdeen.

Those workers deal with passengers directly in the security search areas and process them ahead of flights.

The staff also cover mobile patrols, control access posts, screen all deliveries and deal with emergency services.

Flight cancelled or delayed? Top tips for handling travel disruptions

A spokesman called its offer “generous”, adding: “We’d like to reassure the public there will be no disruptions.”

On Thursday, Unite confirmed that around 300 ICTS Central Search members based at Aberdeen and Glasgow airports had rejected the pay offer.

Unite has also warned of potential security risks at Glasgow airport involving ICTS Central Search workers due to understaffing and security staff being denied contractual breaks.

They claim that this constitutes a contractual breach, and a breach of the Working Time Regulations.

Flight compensation rules

What are my rights if my flight is cancelled or delayed?

Under UK law, airlines have to provide compensation if your flight arrives at its destination more than three hours late.

If you’re flying to or from the UK, your airline must let you choose a refund or an alternative flight.

You will be able to get your money back for the part of your ticket that you haven’t used yet.

So if you booked a return flight and the outbound leg is cancelled, you can get the full cost of the return ticket refunded.

But if travelling is essential, then your airline has to find you an alternative flight. This could even be with another airline.

When am I not entitled to compensation?

The airline doesn’t have to give you a refund if the flight was cancelled due to reasons beyond their control, such as extreme weather.

Disruptions caused by things like extreme weather, airport or air traffic control employee strikes or other ‘extraordinary circumstances’ are not eligible for compensation.

Some airlines may stretch the definition of the “extraordinary circumstances” but you can challenge them through the aviation regulator the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).

Will my insurance cover me if my flight is cancelled?

If you can’t claim compensation directly through the airline, your travel insurance may refund you.

Policies vary so you should check the small print, but a delay of eight to 12 hours will normally mean you qualify for some money from your insurer.

Remember to get written confirmation of your delay from the airport as your insurer will need proof.

If your flight is cancelled entirely, you’re unlikely to be covered by your insurance.

The union said that the staff had “no option” but to move towards initiating industrial action ballots – ahead of the summer holiday rush.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “Workers at Aberdeen and Glasgow Airports have emphatically rejected ICTS’ miserable pay offer.

“The company is extremely profitable, and it can easily afford to make a far better offer to our members.

“Unite will fully back our ICTS Central Search members in their fight for better jobs, pay and conditions.”

The union is reporting growing incidents of fatigue, exhaustion, and stress due to staff working beyond six hours with no break.

The Sun contacted Glasgow and Aberdeen Airports for comment, both of whom declined to comment.

Meanwhile, UK airport staff have warned that huge two-hour-long queues could affect passengers during the summer holidays.

And these airports have been forced to bring back strict hand luggage rules despite bringing in new scanners.

The staff members are due to vote on the strikes soon after rejecting a pay offer

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The staff members are due to vote on the strikes soon after rejecting a pay offerCredit: Getty

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