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Gatwick strike threat by BA staff

(First Edition)

TRAVELLERS will face another airport strike this week if talks over a pay and conditions dispute break down, a union leader warned yesterday.

More than 300 key white-collar staff working for British Airways at Gatwick will bring the airport to a standstill if they are ordered out, it was claimed.

David Warburton, national officer of the GMB general union, said his members were still 'very much in dispute' with BA even though a similar row with the Transport and General Workers Union has been defused.

Talks between the GMB and the airline will be held today over the setting up of a subsidiary company at Gatwick which unions complain has led to lower pay and worse conditions.

'We want a guarantee that not one of our members will be moved to the new company and thus be forced to accept lower pay and conditions.'

Mr Warburton, whose members include computer staff and flight controllers, said: 'BA computer staff also look after other airlines so a strike would hit all flights out of Gatwick.' BA executives are expected to begin talks with pilots' leaders this week in an attempt to head off threatened strike action by them.