Union and BAA continues talks to avert strike

Union and BAA continues talks to avert strike

BAA and the union Unite are continuing talks in a bid avert strike action that could result in the closure of six UK airports, including Heathrow, later this month.

BAA said it hoped to “quickly conclude an agreement”. Unite’s Brian Boyd was also “hopeful” a deal could be struck.

The talks are taking place at the London offices of conciliation service Acas.

Security staff, firefighters and engineers have voted to strike over a 1.5 percent pay offer.

The two sides are looking to reach a settlement on the same day that members of Unite are also scheduled to meet to discuss strike tactics.

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The impact of a strike would hurt not only BAA’s bottom line but airlines that use its airports, as well as customers.

Failure to reach a resolution could result in a walk out on the week beginning 23 August, as it has to give the company seven days’ notice. Unite may even target the August Bank Holiday weekend starting on 28 August, however union leaders have refused to confirm.

If strikes do take place, the six airports would have to close because essential workers such as firefighters and security staff are due to take part.

Earlier this month, Unite members voted by three to one in favour of strike action.

The union has described BAA’s offer of a pay rise worth up to 1.5 percent as “measly”, and are looking for a rise nearer to 2.5 percent. BAA staff agreed to a pay freeze last year.

But BAA argues that it is a fair proposal after a year in which it has seen a fall in passengers due to the impacts of recession and volcanic ash.