Defined Benefit  

Airport workers set date for strike over pensions

Airport workers set date for strike over pensions

Unite union members working at Aberdeen and Glasgow airports are set to strike for two days in June over proposals to close their defined benefit pension scheme.

The airport workers will go on strike on June 7 and 10 between 4am and 4pm to protest against proposals to shut the scheme, which Unite says broke an Acas agreement made in 2016 to keep it open to existing members.

In April, members supported strike action by 88.3 per cent on a 79.5 per cent turnout, after a 60-day consultation on closing the DB pension scheme was extended to allow for further discussions.

AGS Airports Limited Group, which owns Aberdeen, Glasgow and Southampton airports, closed discussions on May 20 following a failure by the company to maintain the pension scheme based on the 2016 agreement.

Shauna Wright, Unite regional industrial officer, said: "Unite members at Aberdeen airport will join those at Glasgow airport taking industrial action to fight against this coordinated attack by AGS on our members’ pension scheme. 

"We have repeatedly warned AGS that if it does not keep to the agreements made with us then industrial action would be inevitable. Let’s not forget that this attack comes despite Aberdeen Airport having enjoyed a near doubling of profits."

Ms Wright also said that further dates will be organised in the summer if the dispute is not settled.

According to Unite, Aberdeen Airport increased its after tax profits from £10.7m in 2016 to £19.1m in 2017.

A spokesperson for AGS said: "We are extremely disappointed that the trade unions have served notice of industrial action. We have been in talks since January and, despite attending Acas, there has been no willingness whatsoever on the part of the unions to engage in a constructive negotiation.

"We made a significant improvement on our initial pay offer which was increased from 1.8 per cent to 3 per cent in line with their demands. This was rejected by the trade unions without further consulting their members. 

"In regards to our final salary pension scheme, it is simply unaffordable with the cost to the company due to rise to 24.7 per cent per employee. We tabled a generous compensation package for the remaining members which again was rejected by unions without further consulting their members."

The spokesperson said the union remained open to further dialogue but would now put its contingency plans in place to ensure business as usual at Aberdeen and Glasgow airports for the two dates in June.

amy.austin@ft.com

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