Workers threatened with sack if they fight for pay

Jon Griffin, Birmingham Mail |

WORKERS at Birmingham Airport deprived of a wage rise for more than three years have been threatened with job cuts if they take industrial action, it has been claimed.

Union leaders said airport management had sent a letter to staff threatening to withdraw a pay offer of two and a half per cent — plus a one-off payment of £150 — and impose reductions in the workforce.

But the tactic was condemned by angry unions who delayed holding a ballot for action after mediators ACAS were called in.

Workers had already voted by 76.5 per cent to reject the pay offer — the first since February 2009 — and unions had announced a ballot for action.

Unite union regional organiser John Partridge said: “The airport has said that if we proceed with industrial action it could lead to the offer being withdrawn and job losses.

“It is disappointing they have found it necessary to put out a letter like that, especially as we have been trying to negotiate a wage settlement since May, when we first met.

“People have not had a pay increase since February 2009. The airport is doing very well and it is counter-productive to threaten job losses, calculated to undermine the morale of the workforce.”

An airport spokesman said bosses were simply trying to ensure “clarity” over its position.

“We will continue to keep all staff informed of this situation so they understand the offer made and impact that any industrial action would have on the business,” he said.

“We regularly have open dialogue with staff on business matters and want to make sure that the entire workforce — not just union members — are clear about this particular issue.

“The airport seeks to make sure everyone understands the offer that has been put forward; we would have thought the union would welcome the greatest degree of clarity.

“We believe the pay issue can be resolved and that the silent majority do not want industrial action.

“The offer is fair and reasonable and means that, for the majority of staff, a three per cent increase would be made if the offer is accepted.”