CAA officials vote to strike for first time in regulator's history

Action backed as survey suggests 42% of organisation's officials are considering leaving
Photo: Chronicle/Alamy

By Tevye Markson

24 Aug 2023

Civil Aviation Authority officials have voted for strike action over this year’s pay deal.

Prospect union members who work at the CAA were balloted earlier this month over the regulator’s 5% pay offer for 2023-24.

Some 67% of those who voted in the official ballot backed strike action, while 87% voted in favour of taking industrial action short of strike. Turnout was 65%, well over the required legal threshold of 50%.

The union also said an internal survey by the CAA of its employees has found that 42% are considering leaving the organisation due to poor pay and reward, excessive workload, lack of recognition and not feeling valued by the organisation.

This is the first time CAA officials have been balloted since the regulator was set up in 1972, according to Prospect.  Around 240 Civil Aviation Authority colleagues are members of Prospect – 16% of its total workforce of around 1,500.

Union leaders said the ballot followed “10 years of pay degradation” at the organisation, which is a public corporation sponsored by the Department for Transport, that has seen the value of earnings fall by 37% since 2011. 

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 good will 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.”

Clancy previously warned that the 5% pay offer would worsen an “ongoing recruitment and retention crisis” at the regulator, which has around 1,500 staff, and threaten its ability to fulfil its statutory responsibility for aviation safety.

The union said it would announce its plans for industrial action at the CAA later.

The CAA has been approached for comment.

Rob Bishton, Interim Chief Executive at the UK 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.”



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