A UNION has warned of a summer of travel "chaos" after security staff rejected a "derisory" annual pay offer.

Unite said that 95% of the 250 staff with the security services firm ICTS based at Glasgow Airport "emphatically" voted to reject a 5% pay offer which it said represents a "significant real terms pay cut" when compared to inflation running at over 10%.

The union says the rejection mandated the launch of an industrial action ballot.

The crucial Central Search workers deal with passengers directly in the security search area and process them for flights.

The union is now considering a formal industrial action ballot if there is no progress in pay talks.

One union official warned of potential strike action if there was no progress.

The Herald: PAISLEY, SCOTLAND - FEBRUARY 27: a general view of a Ryanair aircraft taking off from Glasgow airport on February 27, 2018 in Paisley, Scotland. (Photo by Jamie Simpson/Herald & Times) - JS.

The workers carry out tasks such as checking documents and x-ray screening of baggage and also cover mobile patrols, control access posts, screen all deliveries and deal with emergency services at Glasgow Airport.

Union officials say that if there was strike action the airport could not operate safely.

Unite says it will have no option but to move towards an industrial ballot if the company does not significantly improve its pay offer.

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Pat McIlvogue, Unite regional industrial officer, said: “Around 250 ICTS Central Search workers have emphatically rejected a derisory pay offer which represents a massive pay cut in real terms.

The Herald: Holidaymakers check in at Glasgow Airport

"Unless the company improves upon its current offer then Glasgow Airport faces a summer of travel chaos because it simply can’t operate safely and efficiently without these essential workers. We are encouraging ICTS to heed the warning before this dispute escalates potentially to strike action.”

The union said that the Retail Prices Index (RPI) measure of inflation show the cost of living crisis remains historically high with and stands at 13.5%. The measure is used to determine rates of pay including some UK prices, for example train tickets, mobile phone bills and some taxes, like alcohol duty.

RPI is used to calculate increases in housing costs such as mortgage interest payments and council tax.

Last summer, Unite said they secured an increase of up to 15% from £10 to £11.50 per hour for the workers but the union says ICTS is refusing to move on its latest pay offer.

It came after Glasgow Airport struggled over the previous two years due to travel restrictions as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

Last year MSPs heard that Covid had transported Scotland's airport passenger numbers back to the 1970s.

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The level of travellers at Glasgow Airport dropped to 2m in 2021 and owner AGS Airports, said that level had not been seen since 1973.

But in 2022 the passengers numbers rose to £6.516m - although still over 3m short of the numbers recorded in 2018, before the pandemic.

The busiest international routes from Glasgow are Dublin, Amsterdam, Dubai, Alicante, Tenerife-South, Málaga, Palma de Mallorca, Frankfurt and Lanzarote.

But Civil Aviation Authority data shows that of the ten busiest UK airports, Glasgow Airport had the highest proportion of flights cancelled last year at 2.5%.

An ICTS spokesman said: “Constructive pay talks with our staff at Glasgow airport are ongoing. Generous pay proposals have been tabled that would give staff increases of between 14.0% -26.2% over the past two years.

“We would like to reassure the travelling public that their security is our priority and there will be no disruptions.”

ICTS was approached for comment