Industrial action at GibAir will cause disruption for travellers

Some 75% of staff at airport ground handling company GibAir have voted to commence industrial action at the Gibraltar International Airport as from July 27, Bland Group said on Monday, warning travellers should expect disruption.

The extent of the action was not confirmed by Unite the Union but the Chronicle understands it will involve staff not wearing their uniforms and adopting a ‘go slow’ approach that will likely lead to delays for travellers.

News of the action was revealed in a statement from Bland Group, which said it was notified by Unite the Union over the weekend after “just two meetings” to discuss a pay claim that was formally tabled on July 4.

“Bland Group asserts that Unite the Union has been unreasonable to move towards industrial action at such short notice, given Bland Group’s willingness to engage,” the company said.

“The parties have met just twice and from Bland Group’s standpoint the negotiations have not yet fully started, let alone broken down to the extent that industrial action is appropriate.”

“It is unfortunate that 75% of Unite the Union’s members at Gibair have now voted to take industrial action.”

“Bland Group remains willing to continue to work with Unite the Union in a constructive approach to agree a positive outcome.”

According to Bland, the claim requests a basic pay increase of 12%, the removal of Bradford Factor Scoring - a formula commonly used in HR to measure employee absence - a professional development allowance, an enhanced sickness bonus, and enhanced holiday pay.

“Bland Group has offered the same one-time cost of living assistance payment that was recently extended to the public sector, which amounts to a 9.8% basic pay increase on average across the workforce,” the company said.

“In addition, Bland Group is considering enhanced professional development compensation for cross-functional staff.”

People travelling from Gibraltar International Airport should expect disruption starting on July 27 and are advised to consider appropriate travel arrangements, Bland said in its statement.

“Bland Group apologises for the inconvenience this will cause passengers and is committed to continuing to provide safe and efficient services at Gibraltar International Airport,” the statement added.

Unite the Union did not respond to requests for comment from this newspaper.