Prestwick Airport staff consulted on industrial action

Prestwick Airport. Picture: John Devlin
Prestwick Airport. Picture: John Devlin
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A trade union is to consult staff at Prestwick Airport on possible industrial action after pay talks broke down.

Prospect members, who mostly work in specialist services, unanimously rejected the offer of a 2% wage increase earlier this year.

They submitted a counter proposal mirroring the Scottish Government’s public sector pay policy of rises of up to 3%.

However Prospect said this was rejected by the airport’s board.

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Prestwick was bought by Scottish ministers in 2013, and has been supported by government loans.

Prospect’s negotiator David Avery said: “We are calling on Prestwick’s owners, the Scottish Government, to stop turning a blind eye to the running of the airport and to ensure that they meet the pay policy standards they promised public sector staff in the February budget.”

The union’s national secretary for Scotland, Richard Hardy, said: “Paying the pay policy isn’t simply about toeing the line it’s about sending a signal that the airport wants to recruit and retain the key staff it needs to succeed.

“We will now consult our members on the next steps including a possible strike ballot.”

The airport’s HR director Sonia Rafferty said: “As the business operates as a separate commercial entity at arm’s length to the Scottish Government, the 2% wage increase reflects affordability.

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“At the beginning of discussions, it was made clear that the business continues to face a number of financial challenges and that this was the maximum amount that could be given.

“As part of this year’s offer, we have also extended our no compulsory redundancy pledge for a further 12 months.

“In addition, we are paying the National Living Wage with a commitment to increase this to the Scottish Living Wage by 2020.

She added: “We thank our workforce for their continued support and understanding and want to ensure that our employees receive a fair and suitable remuneration package as they work hard to ensure that the business has a long-term sustainable future.”

A Scottish Government spokesman said: “Glasgow Prestwick Airport operates as a commercial entity at arm’s length from the Scottish Government in line with European State Aid Rules.

“This is a matter for the senior management at the airport and the unions.”