BAA fends off strike with 2pc pay offer

Marion Dakers
THE UNITE union told its workers yesterday they should accept a pay offer by airport operator BAA, as strike action over the August bank holiday was averted.

BAA has offered ground staff a two per cent pay rise plus a one-off payment of at least £500 depending on company results, the union said yesterday, following nine hours of last-ditch talks with mediator Acas.

The deal is double a previous offer of a one per cent pay hike plus extra payments that were conditional on workers conceding their favourable sick pay arrangements.

“The negotiations where tough but Unite has delivered a fair offer for BAA staff,” Unite heads Brian Boyd and Brendan Gold said in a statement.

“The game is up for employers in the aviation industry. With the recession receding in the industry, Unite now expects BAA’s pay offer to set the standard.”

The union will now ballot members on the pay offer, with a result expected within the next three weeks.

The threatened walkout by firefighters, security staff and engineers would likely have shut BAA’s six British airports, which include Heathrow and Stansted, disrupting the plans of thousands of travellers at the height of the holiday season.

“We believe this is a fair offer for staff in what remains a difficult economic environment for the aviation industry,” said BAA in a statement.

“All parties brought a constructive approach to negotiations and we are sorry for the uncertainty ahead of yesterday’s discussions.”

Air travellers still face disruption, however. British Airways, BAA’s largest customer, remains in dispute with Unite over cabin crew pay and conditions, which has resulted in 22 days of strike so far this year.