BAA staff set to strike over wages

Marion Dakers
UK AIRPORTS are set to face chaos in the coming weeks after BAA staff in the Unite union voted three-to-one in favour of strike action yesterday.

Unite, which represents two-thirds of BAA’s workforce, said the vote showed the firm’s offer of a one per cent basic pay rise was “derisory”.

Union heads will meet on Monday to decide what form the industrial action will take. One option involves walk-outs over the August bank holiday, though the union must give seven days’ notice of any action.

The arbitration body Acas confirmed last night it will facilitate an early meeting with Unite and BAA bosses as soon as a suitable time can be arranged, in an attempt to head off major travel disruption.

BAA’s six airports, including Stansted and Heathrow, face closure or a slew of cancelled flights while action is ongoing.

“For the past four months BAA has refused to even meet with us,” said Unite official Brendan Gold.

“BAA is doing passengers a great disservice by allowing this dispute to get to this stage. We are therefore calling on BAA to return to the negotiating table with a fair offer.”

Staff working at the Spanish-owned BAA have seen other large firms offer generous pay deals recently, including a 9.3 per cent pay rise over 39 months for BT workers, agreed in July, and a 6.9 per cent rise and other perks at Royal Mail, secured in March.