BAA meeting Unite union representatives to settle dispute over pay increase

UK airport operator BAA is meeting with representatives of the Unite union on Monday to find out a way to avert possible strike action by airport workers later this month.

Workers at six airports including London's Heathrow, Stansted, Glasgow and Edinburgh are in dispute with BAA over pay and working conditions.

Last week, ground staff rejected a 1 per cent pay offer, and voted in favor of strikes at country’s major airports later in August. The airport operator has also offered 0.5 per cent but that is conditional on changes to the firm's sickness agreement.

It could cause travel chaos during the holiday season if workers go ahead with their walkout plans as BAA has already announced that it would have to close the airports as the potential striking workers include security staff, firefighters and engineers.

However, both sides said that they wanted an amicable resolution of the dispute.

Unite’s joint general secretary Tony Woodley said they would do their best to avoid disrupting people’s holiday plans, while BAA said they hoped that they would be able to hit an agreement.

Speaking on the issue, a spokesperson for BAA said, “We hope that we can quickly conclude an agreement, in the interests of the travelling public, our airlines and our staff, the majority of whom did not vote for a strike.

However, the loss-making BAA added that the pay increase offered by it was reasonable given the group was under pressure from the effects of the recession, the Icelandic volcanic ash clouds and BA cabin crew strikes.