Majority of BAA staff vote for strike action over pay dispute

Almost two-thirds (74%) of BAA staff members who belong to the union Unite have voted for strike action in a dispute over a 1% pay rise offer.

BAA has also informed all staff that they would not receive their annual airport incentive payment of £700 for 2010.

Unite balloted 6,185 staff including security staff, engineers, fire-fighters and support staff at six of BAA’s airports: Heathrow, Stansted, Southampton, Glasgow, Aberdeen and Edinburgh.

The union and its BAA members have voiced that a 1% increase on basic earnings plus an additional 0.5% conditional on changes to its sickness agreement falls far short of employee expectations.

Brian Boyd, national officer for civil aviation at Unite, said: “Last year BAA’s employees accepted a pay freeze to help the company because they understood the difficult financial operating environment within civil aviation. A pay offer of 1% plus the withdrawal of two payments worth over £1,000 is simply confrontational.

“BAA has constantly ignored the contribution its employees make to the ongoing success of the business. Unite members have delivered a strong message that they deserve more.”

Brendan Gold, national officer for civil aviation at Unite, added: “This ballot result reflects what our members feel about BAA’s current attitude.

“For the past four months BAA has refused to even meet with us. BAA is doing passengers a great disservice by allowing this dispute to get to this stage. We are therefore calling on BAA to return to the negotiating table with a fair offer.”

A statement from BAA said: “More than half of those eligible to vote have not done so and we believe the ballot result does not provide a clear mandate for strike action.

“We believe that our offer of a conditional 1.5% pay increase is fair and reasonable during a very difficult economic climate for the aviation industry. We hope that the trade union will engage with us quickly to conclude an agreement, and we have suggested talks.”

Unite will be meeting with its key representatives on 16 August to decide what form of action union members will take.

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