Swissport employees, who provide baggage handling and check-in services at a large number of airports across the UK, have voted to accept an above-inflation pay rise.
The 8.54% hike will be paid from this month (January 2022) along with a payment to account for a smaller 2.4% rise backdated to January 2020.
There will also be a retention bonus of £1,000 for staff who remain in their roles until October this year.
Large numbers of workers will also see extra increases, according to trade union GMB, due to the resolution of a “long-standing differential issue at some airports” that will see minor additional pay rises for certain grades of staff.
The GMB said the overall deal represented “a real increase” to its members’ pay after a difficult couple of years, during which many have been furloughed as the industry struggled with travel restrictions imposed due to Covid-19 (Coronavirus).
GMB national secretary Andy Prendergast said that although it will be some time before air passenger volumes match the levels seen before the pandemic, the union is pleased that this pay award will help keep staff in post and ensure that airports are ready as numbers increase.
“Our members have voted strongly in favour of this pay rise, which goes some way to rewarding them for their hard work during a very difficult period,” said Prendergast.
“We know the aviation industry has been hit hard throughout the pandemic, but our members have really worked to keep cargo moving and to ensure that as the numbers travelling have gone up, staff have been ready to check people in and keep things moving.”
A Swissport spokesperson said the business was pleased that, following what it described as a constructive and collaborative process, the pay deal put forward to ballot had been “overwhelmingly” accepted by the members.
“We are extremely grateful to the representatives from unions in helping the company deliver its commitment to conclude these discussions swiftly, and sincerely want this result to be a demonstration of our employees’ value within Swissport,” the spokesperson said.
Consumer price inflation hit 4.6% in the 12 months to November 2021, according to the latest data available from the Office for National Statistics.