Union leaders have hit out at moves by the UK’s air traffic control organisation to pay £20 million in interim dividends to shareholders.
Prospect said workers at Nats, whose pay has been frozen this year, would only receive a maximum of £276 each under the dividend payout, while the Government will get almost £10 million and a consortium of airlines are in line for £8.4 million.
The union’s aviation officer, Garry Graham, said: “Members are astounded at this decision. Management continue to lecture staff on the need to reduce costs and show restraint over pay, while the company pays out significant sums of money in dividends.
“This short-sighted dividend policy seems to have little to do with the long-term interest of UK air traffic control, stability and service delivery, and more to do with the short-term interests of those who seek to maximise profits from a potential sale.
“Instead of paying out inflated dividends, Nats should firstly recognise and reward the hard-working and professional staff who help make UK airspace some of the safest in the world.”
The Government holds a 49% share in Nats and will receive £9.8 million in dividends, the Airline Group – a consortium of airlines – has a 42% holding and will receive £8.4 million, BAA has a 4% shareholding and stands to gain £800,000, with the remaining 5% of shares held by employees, who will receive £1 million, or up to £276 each, said the union.