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CAA staff balloted over strike action

Prospect trade union members at the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) are to be balloted on industrial action over pay. The call for strike action is a first for the UK’s aviation regulator.

Having got its finances into a healthier position post-pandemic, the CAA has offered staff a 5% pay rise, but trade union Prospect is urging its members to reject the offer, stating that it is too little to offset pay cuts imposed during the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as current inflation rates, that Prospect says represents a real term drop of 37.2% since 2011.

“We will not hesitate to take industrial action to win a better deal for our members and restore the CAA’s status as a world-class aviation regulator. Their goodwill in taking a pay cut during the initial stages of the pandemic to enable their employer to continue to function has not been met in kind by the CAA,” says Prospect general secretary Mike Clancy.

According to Prospect, CAA staff have been facing a cost-of-living crisis after more than ten years of pay degradation. The trade union state that in real terms, CAA wages have plunged by 37.2% since 2011 against a current backdrop of 10.7% inflation.

About 40% of the CAA’s income is derived from variable charges linked to aviation activity. After aviation traffic collapsed in the spring of 2020, as result of the COVID-19 pandemic, much of the regulator’s income was cut. Now the positive impact of the recovery is not only ramping up CAA revenue, but also highlighting an increasing requirement for labour.

Prospect has expressed concerns that the 5% pay offer will worsen ongoing recruitment and retention issues at the CAA. Moreover, action threatens the ability of the aviation regulator to fulfil its statutory responsibility for aviation safety.

CAA employment costs were £107.9 million in its last fiscal year, representing an increase of £10.2 million and 10.4% compared to year end 2022. The CAA reports annual pay increases of 3.0% in 2022 – 2023, together with upping the average number of employees by 10.3% and 129 to 1,387.

Author: FTN Editor

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