Unite, Britain’s biggest union, is urging employers at London Luton Airport to return to the negotiating table to avoid severe disruption over the Bank Holiday after workers voted for strike action in a series of strike ballots over ‘paltry’ pay and zero hours' contracts.

The ballot result means severe disruption to Luton Airport’s operations between 7.00am on Friday 25 May through to 6.30 am on Wednesday 30 May (see notes to editors).

Workers directly employed by London Luton Airport in several different roles including firefighters and security guards voted overwhelmingly for strike action. The strike ballot is in response to the company’s paltry pay offer, despite sky high pay increases for the bosses and record passenger numbers.

Despite months of negotiations the company has offered to increase workers’ pay by just 2.5 per cent. But according to the latest financial statement workers helped to deliver an increase in turnover of 10.8 per cent to £163m and an increase in pre-tax profits to £44m.

15.8 million passengers used the airport in 2017, an 8.6 per cent increase, making 2017 the airport’s busiest year on record. 

To make matters worse the latest financial statements showed that Luton Airport’s directors’ remuneration has increased by 59 per cent and the highest paid director received a pay increase of 48 per cent.

Unite regional officer Jeff Hodge said: “London Luton Airport now faces severe disruption unless management  get around the table and negotiate a fair deal which recognises the contribution workers make. 

“Turnover at Luton airport is up, company profits are up and passenger numbers are up. This April alone saw passenger numbers growing to 1.3 million people. That’s the 15th consecutive month of over a million passengers passing through the airport. Workers at Luton airport deserve a decent rate of pay for their work and to be treated fairly by management.  

“These ballot results demonstrate that members will no longer accept paltry pay and unfair treatment while their bosses constantly squeeze every last penny to boost profits.”

Unite members at Menzies Aviation which undertakes baggage handling at the airport have also voted in favour of strike action. The dispute concerns the company’s failure to improve their current deal in line with rising inflation levels, breaches of the recognition agreement, poor working conditions and a lack of communication.

Unite’s members employed by Clece Care Service Ltd, which provide assistance at the airport to passengers with reduced mobility have also voted for industrial action regarding the over use of zero hours contracts, the failure to pay at least the real Living Wage, and bullying by the station manager.


Notes to editors

Strike dates:

  • London Luton Airport Firefighters from 7:00am Friday 25th May until 7:00pm Saturday 26th May
  • London Luton Airport  Security from 03:00am Monday 28th May until 05:00am Tuesday 29th May 
  • London Luton Airport ( staff including air operations and engineering) from 06:30am Tuesday 29th May until 6:30am Wednesday 30th May 
  • Menzies Aviation from 03:00am Saturday 26th May until 14:00pm Sunday 27th May 
  • Clece Care Services from 05:00am Monday 28th May until 05:00am Wednesday 30th May

Ballot results: 92 per cent of workers employed by Menzies who took part in the ballot voted for strike action. 63 per cent of workers employed by Luton Airport, outside of security and the fire department, that took part in the ballot voted for strike action. 86 per cent  of security workers who took part in the ballot, employed by Luton airport, voted for strike action. 64 per cent of workers that took part in the ballot, employed by the fire department voted for strike action. 88 per cent of workers who took part in the ballot, employed by Clece Care Service Ltd, voted for strike action. 

Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with over 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey. 


For more information contact Ciaran Naidoo 07768 931 315