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Workers at the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) have voted overwhelmingly in favour of industrial action in a dispute over pay.
Members of the Prospect union backed strikes by 2-1 and by almost 9-1 for other forms of industrial action.
The union said the CAA had refused to provide a “fair” pay rise for this year.
Prospect added that an internal survey of CAA workers found that two in five are considering leaving the organisation because of poor pay and excessive workload.
It was the first time a ballot on industrial action has taken place at the CAA, said Prospect.
Turnout was 65%, well over the required legal threshold.
The timing and nature of industrial action will be decided in due course.
Mike Clancy, general secretary of Prospect, said: “More than a decade of real terms pay cuts have left our members at the CAA with no choice but to take industrial action.
“During the initial stages of the pandemic they did their part by taking a pay cut to enable their employer to continue to function.
“This show of goodwill has not been returned and inadequate pay levels are having a serious impact on recruitment and retention at the CAA.
“The employer can still avert this industrial action by coming back to the table with a meaningful offer that addresses the ongoing cost-of-living crisis.
“If they do not do so, then the CAA’s status as a world-class aviation regulator is at risk.”
Rob Bishton, interim chief executive at the Civil Aviation Authority, said: “It is disappointing that some members of the Prospect Union have voted in favour of industrial action.
“We recognise the cost-of-living challenges that colleagues face, which is why we’ve already implemented a 5% pay rise, along with a further pay increase for many staff in October. This increase also takes account of the interests of those who pay our charges and public sector pay policy.
“With a modest proportion of the Civil Aviation Authority’s workforce who are members of Prospect, should there be any action by our colleagues, we do not anticipate any disruption to the aviation sector. We continue to engage constructively with Prospect.”
The CAA said around 240 employees were members of Prospect – 16% of a total workforce of around 1,500.