A New Year showdown is on the cards at Birmingham Airport after the first pay rise for three years for 580 workers was rejected.
Unite regional official John Partridge said the union was “extremely disappointed” that no increase was on the table for staff whose pay has been frozen since February 2009.
Now a crunch meeting of unions and management has been called for January 19 after Mr Partridge warned Unite would not accept a continuing freeze.
“We were extremely disappointed when the company came back last week and said they couldn’t make an offer for 2011 or even confirm anything for 2012.
“We have said that is it. We have delayed for so long and cannot just stand there and accept this. It has been 2009 since people had a wage increase – it is simply unfair to treat people like this.
“They say that it is a difficult climate and that money is tight because of the new runway extension.
“We accept that the forecasts are not particularly good but we believe that the airport is doing tolerably well and that they can afford an increase.”
A total of 580 people, including non-union members, currently face a pay standstill after Unite’s claim for a 4.6 per cent rise was rejected out of hand.
Earlier this summer, the airport announced after-tax profits of £5.28 million for 2010, representing an eightfold rise.
The increase followed cost-cutting which saw the workforce at the airport shrink by 75. Building work on the runway extension is due to begin next summer.
Earlier this year, airport chief executive Paul Kehoe said: “We have always stated that we have to make a profit so that we can continue to invest in new facilities and the new runway extension.
“Over the last two years, many staff have had pay rises through restructuring and career progression opportunities, and most staff have had greater than inflation awards in 2010 and 2011 through bonuses.”
The airport declined to comment further ahead of January 19 .