A threat of strike action over the pay and conditions of fuel tanker drivers and operators employed by Menzies may threaten the public’s travel plans.
Oil company Shell, airlines and Birmingham Airport management are pressuring Menzies to prevent holiday strike chaos at the airport, according to Unite, the UK’s main union for transport workers.
If no resolution is found, an all out indefinite strike will begin on Tuesday 15 August.
The specialised nature of the role, a ban on agency workers during strikes from 10 August and the inability of the small number of non-Menzies refuelers to provide adequate cover during the strikes, is causing concern for everyone that relies on the company’s services.
Birmingham airport airlines include TUI, easyJet, Wizz Air, Ryanair, Lufthansa and Emirates. Menzies is contracted by Shell to run refuelling operations at the airport. Refuelling workers wear Shell branded work gear and the tankers are emblazoned with its logo.
Unite regional officer Sulinder Singh said: “Menzies can resolve this dispute swiftly and avoid strike action by putting forward a reasonable pay offer. The ball is in the company’s court – it will be directly responsible for any disruption caused at Birmingham airport.”
Marco di Mario, Senior VP, Fuels at Menzies Aviation, said to a BBC reporter that the firm was “disappointed” with the announcement of industrial action.
“The current package of 11.5% is on top of last year’s 6.5% pay increase. The vote to strike was initiated despite our commitment for further dialogue,” he said.
“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.”