Airport operator BAA is bracing itself for a summer of strikes following confirmation from the Unite trade union that ground staff at its UK airports have voted to take industrial action.
The union, which represents over 6,000 BAA employees, confirmed some 74 per cent of staff had endorsed industrial action following a secret ballot.
Members of staff represented by Unite include security personnel, engineers, fire-fighters and support staff.
BAA has previously stated it will be unable to operate airports – including London Heathrow, Stansted, Southampton and Edinburgh – in the event of strike action.
Unite national officer for civil aviation, Brian Boyd said: “Last year BAA employees accepted a pay freeze to help the company because they understood the difficult financial operating environment within civil aviation.
“A pay offer of one per cent plus the withdrawal of two payments worth over £1,000 is simply confrontational.”
BAA offered staff a one per cent pay rise for 2010, plus an additional 0.5 per cent conditional on changes to its sickness agreement.
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Unite has rejected the offer.
Members of the union are also unhappy about a BAA decision not to pay staff bonuses in 2010.
In the previous round of pay negotiations BAA had agreed to pay a £700 bonus if the company met an EBITDA target of £1.2 billion. However, the Spanish owned airport operator missed the target by three per cent.
Despite this, Unite argues the bonus should still be paid.
Unite will be meeting with its key representatives on Monday 16th August to decide what form of industrial action union members will take.
Strike action could follow within ten days.
The dispute follows the resolution of a disagreement with airside ground staff earlier today.
A separate dispute with cabin crew is ongoing.
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