Airbus workers voted overwhelmingly to strike if a dispute over pay can’t be resolved at U.K. plants where aircraft wings are designed and built.
Around 3,000 employees at the factories in Broughton, Wales, and Filton, England, backed the plan, the Unite union said in a statement on its website. The strikes could begin as early as March but could still be avoided if Airbus improves its pay offer, the union said.
A work stoppage could disrupt a plan to gear up production of Airbus’s flagship A320-family of narrowbody jets, given the key role the U.K. plants play in the effort. The company recently defused a separate strike threat in Germany over plans to more closely integrate French and German subsidiaries.
About 94% of union members who voted backed the strike authorization, Unite said.
“In 2020, Airbus workers accepted a pay freeze and since then have worked extremely hard to get the company back on track as the country emerges from the pandemic,” Unite national officer for aerospace Rhys McCarthy said in the statement. “Now Airbus needs to step up and ensure they have a fair pay increase to help mitigate rocketing inflation and the rising cost of living.”
Airbus said in a statement it was disappointed by the decision and the potentially damaging impact it could have on the company’s recovery from the coronavirus pandemic. It added that it is “committed to ongoing dialogue with the trade union to help bring this situation to a successful resolution.”