Luton airport faces 12 consecutive days of strike action by security guards, including the bank holiday weekend.

Staff responsible for searches, baggage checks and general security across the airport plan to walk out from Thursday (May 23) at 4.30am until June 3 at 8:59pm.

The members of the Unite union are protesting against a new shift pattern affecting around 120 security guards. The union says this will force them to work an extra 15 days a year, resulting in only nine free weekends.

A previous series of strikes at the start of the month caused delays and the union has called on the airport to suspend the implementation of the new shift pattern to allow further talks.

Unite believes the recruitment of security staff has not matched increasing passenger numbers.

A majority – 95% – of the workers who took part in the ballot voted for strike action.

Unite regional officer Jeff Hodge said: “Security guards at Luton airport are preparing to step-up their campaign against management’s heavy handed changes.

“The airport is trying to force their staff to work significantly more unsocial hours. Workers will only get nine weekends a year and will have to work an extra 15 days a year.

“Unite has notified Luton airport that the workers are planning 12 days of strike action which include the bank holiday weekend.

“The workers are standing firm and are determined to ensure the airport treats them fairly.

“The airport must suspend the implementation of the new shift pattern to allow further talks. It’s time for management to get around the negotiating table to reach a fair deal.”

An airport spokesman said: “During previous action by the same group of Unite members earlier this month, there was no disruption to passengers with average wait times of five minutes.

“We have the same robust contingency plans in place this time and remain open to further discussions with Unite.”

The airport said it gave staff affected by the shift changes a vote on different options and accepted the outcome.

However, it said Unite responded with a proposal that was “not in the best interest of our people,” the BBC reported.

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