49pc rise for airport boss angers unions

The chief executive of Birmingham Airport has been given a 49 per cent pay rise.

Chief executive Nick Barton
Chief executive Nick Barton

Nick Barton's annual wage is up from £399,000 to £595,000.

The rise has come under fire from trade unions but airport board member John McNicholas said that it was paying the appropriate rate.

Mr Barton took up his post at the airport – the third largest outside London – in January 2019 and was previously chief executive at Luton Airport from 2014 and part of the senior management team at Stansted for eight years.

The news of the big rise comes as air travellers have been experiencing long delays and cancellations. Birmingham Airport has experienced problems with getting passengers though security after difficulties in recruiting new staff in the wake of the pandemic.

The airport laid off 43 per cent of its staff due to the crisis which virtually forced it to shut down.

Jane Nellist, president of Coventry Trade Union Council, described the increase as "absolutely disgraceful" and claimed it would anger "millions of workers".

She said with inflation rising, workers were equally in need of better pay.

"If they want a pay rise it should be equal – we should all get a pay rise," she said.

The airport is part-owned by a number of councils in the region, including the Black Country authorities.

Ms Nellist said it was wrong to pay the airport chief executive more at a time when local authorities were being forced to make cuts.

Birmingham Airport, which hopes to be back to full staffing levels by August, said: "We pay our senior management in line with market rates."

Mr McNicholas, who also sits on Coventry City Council, described Mr Barton as "a very dynamic person, full of great ideas" and as "someone absolutely perfect for Birmingham Airport".

He said: "It is paying the appropriate rate and while it may seem high for many, many people because of the current circumstance, we've also got to look to the future and ensure we have the right person in the post."

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