Shropshire Star

Birmingham Airport facing 'all-out indefinite strike action' as union claims planes will be grounded

A leading union claims that most planes at Birmingham Airport will be grounded this month after announcing "all-out industrial strike action" today.

Fuel tanker drivers and operators at Birmingham Airport have announced they will be embarking on industrial action.

Fuel tanker drivers and operators who are employed at the airport by Menzies Aviation will walk out on August 15 after rejecting a nine per cent pay offer.

While the union claims that the majority of planes will be grounded, Birmingham Airport said it was not anticipating flight cancellations due to contingency plans put in place by Menzies Aviation.

The striking workers are represented by Unite the Union, who deemed the nine per cent pay offer a "real terms pay cut" due to the real rate of inflation standing at 10.7 per cent.

Last year, workers received a six per cent pay rise which Unite said was "a significant pay cut in real terms" due to "rocketing inflation".

Unite claims that Menzies's most recent annual report reveals revenues of over £1 billion in 2021 with operating profits of £60.4 million.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: "Menzies can afford to pay and it should pay. The company cannot expect these workers to agree to two years’ of real terms pay cuts during a cost of living crisis when it is bringing in such massive profits.

"Unite is totally focused on improving our members’ jobs, pay and conditions and the workforce at Menzies have Unite’s total support."

Unite regional officer Sulinder Singh added: "Holidaymakers will not be pleased that their summer getaways could be ruined because Menzies’ greed has resulted in their planes sitting on the tarmac. This dispute can be avoided but Menzies needs to return with an offer our members can accept."

Holidaymakers jetting off from Birmingham this summer recently breathed a sigh of relief when 150 security officers and terminal technicians recently called off strike action after Unite secured workers a 13.3 per cent pay deal.

However, Unite's latest announcement could impact flights operated by TUI, easyJet, Wizz Air, Ryanair, Lufthansa and Emirates.

Rejecting Unite's claims that flights would be cancelled, a spokesperson for Birmingham Airport said: "Fuellers at BHX are employed by a number of third party companies. Those employed by Menzies have voted to take industrial action, although negotiations were ongoing.

"Menzies Aviation is putting contingency plans into operation. Birmingham Airport does not anticipate flight cancellations.”

Marco di Mario, senior vice president fuels at Menzies Aviation, added: “We are disappointed with the union’s decision to undertake industrial action at Birmingham Airport while negotiations are ongoing and there are still margins to find a resolution that is agreeable by all parties.

"The current package of 11.5 per cent is on top of last year’s 6.5 per cent pay increase. The vote to strike was initiated despite our commitment for further dialogue.

"We are calling for mediation to achieve a more reasonable position and will have robust contingency plans in place to minimise any potential impact should industrial action go ahead."