Scotland's largest airport could face travel "chaos" this summer as workers could walk out in a pay dispute, a union has warned. 

Around 275 workers at Edinburgh Airport are set to be balloted on strike action amid demands that pay should "keep up with the cost of living". 

Unite has warned the industrial action puts a summer of travel "chaos" on the cards after a previous offer was turned down by members. 

However, bosses at the airport have said they believed their offer of an 11% pay rise along with a £1000 cost of living payment was "fair and competitive".

The airport is estimated to be the sixth-busiest in the UK and saw a total of 11.26 million people travel through last year.

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Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “Unite’s members at Edinburgh Airport made huge sacrifices during the Covid pandemic.

"They agreed to reductions in pay and conditions. The workers did all this while working around the clock to keep the airport safe and running.

“The situation is entirely different now with passenger figures hitting over 11m last year, and inflation stands at a 40-year high.

"Pay needs to keep up with the cost of living - simple. Edinburgh Airport bosses need to make a realistic pay offer to the staff if they are to avoid a summer of travel chaos.” 

The ballot will open on May 5 and is expected to close on May 23. 

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Many of the staff being balloted work directly with passengers in airport security, terminal operations, search areas and process them for flights.

The workers involved in the ballot also screen all deliveries and deal with airside support services.

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Unite said the previous offer was rejected and deemed inferior to that at Gatwick Airport in London where staff were offered and accepted a 12% increase and a £1500 one-off cash payment. 

A spokesman for Edinburgh Airport claimed that the offer at the London airport should "be taken in context". 

He added: Despite the challenges of Covid this will be the third pay rise given to the team at Edinburgh Airport since 2020. This is the first offer made by Gatwick in the same timeframe.

“This means that the Edinburgh team would have received an overall pay increase of 19.6% over the same time.”

While the union claimed to represent the majority of Edinburgh's airport staff, it is understood 275 workers would make up for less than 40% of the overall workforce.

Carrie Binnie, Unite industrial officer, said: “Unite members’ pay in real terms has been cut by around 10% over the last seven years, while £691.9m has flowed out the airport’s coffers in payments made to the parent company [Global Infrastructure Partner] GIP, and in dividends to shareholders.

"This simply isn’t fair and our members are prepared to fight for a better deal.” 

Unite wants to resolve this dispute at Edinburgh Airport through negotiation but airport management are stubbornly refusing to improve upon the current pay offer in any way.”

Over the same period of seven years, the union claimed that workers real take-home pay is estimated to have dropped by around 9.8% but almost £700m has been paid out to GIP and shareholders.

A spokesman for Edinburgh Airport said: “It's disappointing that we are in this situation despite meeting the request of our unions - an 11% pay rise along with a £1,000 cost of living payment.

"We believe this is a fair and competitive offer and one that was asked for by both of our recognised unions through our collective bargaining arrangement. Both said they would recommend the offer to members.

“One union saw overwhelming support for the agreed offer and we cannot understand why Unite campaigned against and rejected the very offer they asked us for.

“We have sought clarity on Unite’s membership numbers given the tight nature of the result where the vote against was carried by less than 1% of the membership, and we have raised serious concerns about the integrity of the ballot and the number of members that voted.

“We hope to resolve these issues at our scheduled ACAS meeting to allow us to deliver the wage rise and cost of living payment that we want to pay our team.”