Staff at Southend airport have voted to take strike action over the Christmas period.

Members of the GMB union who work for Stobart Aviation and Stobart Aviation Services voted to take industrial action in a dispute over Stobart not recognising GMB for the purpose of “collective bargaining and all related matters”.

A spokesman for GMB said no specific dates had been confirmed so far.

Acas has set-up a meeting between GMB and Stobart Aviation to take place next week to try and find a way of preventing strike action.

Gary Pearce, GMB regional organiser said: “Our members at Southend Airport who work in baggage handling, security, aircraft dispatch and flight operations have been raising their concerns with management in relation to the lack of staff, lack of protective clothing insufficient training, changes to their contracts and what they are paid compared to staff in other local airports for months.

“Stobart Aviation and Stobart Aviation Services failure to accept GMB members request to formally recognise their Union for the purpose of collective bargaining and all related matters has left our members with no alternative other than to take strike action over the Christmas holiday.

“Both Stobart Aviation Services and Stobart Aviation can prevent the travel chaos at Southend Airport by simply agreeing to provide GMB with a formal agreement.”