Airport operator BAA and the Unite trade union have reached agreement in a dispute over pay, averting the threat of strike action later this month.
During talks sponsored by the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS) in London yesterday both sides agreed to a deal in principle.
The discussions followed a ballot last week in which staff at six BAA airports – including London Heathrow and Stansted – voted to strike.
BAA had stated it would be unable to operate airports, with fire fighters, security staff, engineers and support staff among those ready to take action.
However, the threat of intensive disruption during the summer holiday season has now been removed.
In a statement BAA said: “We are pleased that the basis of an agreement has been reached on pay, that is fair to staff but which also reflects the difficult economic climate.
[stock]BAA|1m|right|BAA stock expected to fall[/stock]
“Our priority is to work with our people to improve the service we provide passengers and airlines, and we look forward to doing that in the busy weeks ahead.”
Approximately 6,000 staff were balloted by unions following the offer of a one per cent pay rise by BAA.
Although accompanied by a further 0.5 per cent rise (linked to changes in annual leave), Unite described the offer as “confrontational”.
Acas’ chief conciliator Peter Harwood confirmed a new deal had now been reached, but said details would remain confidential until the parties report back to their respective constituencies.
He added that he expects the process to be completed by 13:00 BST today.
“The unions will now be balloting their members on the proposed settlement with a recommendation that members vote to accept it,” Mr Harwood concluded.