Airport strikes set to cause travel chaos

THOUSANDS of holidaymakers face the prospect of travel chaos following an overwhelming vote for strike action by workers at BAA airports, including Heathrow and Stansted.

A ballot over pay involving 6,000 staff belonging to the Unite union resulted in a three to one vote in favour of strike action, the union said.

Unite will meet with its key representatives on Monday to decide what form of industrial action its members will take.

Any action will affect not only Heathrow but also Stansted, Southampton, Glasgow, Aberdeen and Edinburgh airports.

A week’s notice has to be given ahead of strike action, which means that strikes could not begin until August 23.


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Before the ballot result was announced, Prime Minister David Cameron warned that a strike would achieve nothing “apart from damage”.

But Unite national officer Brendan Gold said: “This ballot reflects what our members feel about BAA’s current attitude.”

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The union had urged firefighters, engineers and support and security staff at BAA’s six UK airports to vote for industrial action over what it called the Spanish-owned company’s “measly” pay offer.

The union said staff had already accepted a pay freeze in 2009 and that this year the company had offered staff a 1% rise, plus 0.5% which was conditional on changes to a sickness agreement.

Unite also wants workers to receive a performance-related bonus which it said was promised to them if the company hit a certain financial target.

BAA said it made a “reasonable” offer at a time when “BAA and its airline customers are seeing a decline in passengers due to the impacts of recession and volcanic ash”.

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