THOUSANDS of Scots face disruption at the start of the holiday season amid an ongoing dispute between unions and the owners of Glasgow Airport.

Union chiefs are to stage a new series of strikes targeting peak holiday season with walkouts beginning on Wednesday and set to continue until July 15th. It had appeared progress was being made in the dispute between the two sides with the lifting of a planned strike tomorrow to allow for more talks.

Union chiefs are locked in a dispute with airport owner AGS Airports over pay and pensions, and said they “hope the public understand the bigger issue here”.

But Mark Johnston, managing director of Glasgow Airport, said: “Unite has demonstrated a complete disregard for the travelling public. They are more focused on trying to cause disruption for passengers during the busy summer period rather than engaging in meaningful talks.”

He said the airport had offered a three per cent pay rise this year with a further three per cent guaranteed next year. “This would represent four years in a row a pay rise of three per cent has been offered”, he said, describing any claim of an attack on pay as “laughable”.

He said while workers were being moved off a final salary pension scheme, they will transfer to one of the UK’s leading defined contribution pension schemes with employer contributions of up to 16 per cent. He said contingency plans would be put in place to ensure passengers were not affected by the strikes. “We have not and will not allow Unite to cause disruption for our passengers,” he added.

The Unite union says workers including security officers, airport fire safety staff, airfield operations officers and engineering technicians will walk out on dates between July 3rd and 15th – taking in the start of the traditional Glasgow Fair.

Pat McIlvogue, Unite regional industrial officer, said talks had made minimal progress.

“Unite fully appreciates the inconvenience this action is causing the travelling public. But we hope the public understand the bigger issue here is the attack on our members’ deferred pay through the closure of their pension scheme, and a pay offer which doesn’t even get close to matching the pay rises and the bonuses the boardroom receives.

Meanwhile tens of thousands of holiday makers jetted out of Scotland’s airports yesterday, on what is expected to be one of the busiest weekends of the year so far. In Glasgow alone, more than 165,000 passengers are expected to travel.