Luton airport faces a 49-day strike by security guards from Wednesday, until July 23.

The walkout – the fourth period of industrial action by Unite union members – is the result of a dispute over changes to working time.

Unite is due to meet the airport with the conciliation service Acas next Wednesday (June 12) to try to resolve the dispute.

The union claims that the airport is imposing a new shift pattern affecting around 120 security guards, resulting in them working an extra 15 days a year.

A majority – 95% – of the workers who took part in the ballot voted for strike action.

Unite regional officer Jeff Hodge said: “Security guards are determined to fight back against Luton airport’s heavy-handed and antisocial shift changes.

“Management are trying to force staff to work for longer, with shorter breaks, while piling extra costs on the workforce.

“The airport needs to take responsibility for the staff shortages by doing what’s needed to recruit new staff rather than heaping all the burden on its workforce.

“The airport now faces disruption through most of June and July.

“Workers would not be taking this action unless they had genuine and serious grievances. We hope the airport listens and works with Unite to resolve this dispute.”

An airport spokesperson said: “Previous walkouts by the same small number of Unite members have not caused any disruption and we would like to reassure passengers that it will be no different this time.

“Whilst we are disappointed Unite are continuing with their strike, we are pleased that Unite has finally agreed to meet with us and we remain committed to finding a resolution.”

MoreLuton airport faces 12-day security staff strike