Airport workers offered 2% rise in strike peace deal

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The Independent Travel

The pay deal which averted strikes by thousands of workers at six airports includes a 2% pay rise and a lump sum of £500, it was revealed today.

Unite said the offer by BAA was double the original deal proposed by the airport operator, which was rejected last week, raising the threat of travel chaos for hundreds of thousands of holidaymakers.

Firefighters, security staff and other workers at Heathrow, Stansted, Southampton, Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen airports will now be urged to accept the new deal in a ballot over the next three weeks.

Unite said the new offer, tabled by BAA during lengthy talks at the conciliation service Acas yesterday, would now set the standard for pay deals in the industry.

The offer includes a 2% increase on basic pay and allowances from January 2010, arrangements for payment of shift pay during periods of sickness to remain unchanged, and a lump sum of £500, with £200 paid next month and the remainder next March.

Unite said the lump sum could reach £900 if performance targets are met

National officers Brian Boyd and Brendan Gold said: "This offer is double what BAA had originally offered with no strings attached. Plus it comes with a guaranteed lump sum of £500. The negotiations were tough but Unite has delivered a fair offer for BAA staff.

"The game is up for employers in the aviation industry. With the recession receding in the industry, Unite now expects BAA's pay offer to set the standard."

The threatened strike action would have involved more than 6,000 security staff, engineers and firefighters at some of the country's busiest airports.

The Acas talks followed a 3-1 vote by Unite members in favour of industrial action in protest at an original offer of a 1% pay rise.

Unite said its members accepted a wage freeze last year and cooperated with changes to their pension scheme, so deserved a bigger pay rise.

A BAA spokesman said: "Following discussions at the conciliation service Acas, trade unions have agreed to recommend to members BAA's revised offer of an unconditional 2% on pay and allowances and a guaranteed airport profit bonus for 2010 of a minimum of £500.

"We believe this is a fair offer for staff in what remains a difficult economic environment for the aviation industry. All parties brought a constructive approach to negotiations and we are sorry for the uncertainty ahead of yesterday's discussions.

"We now look forward to working with our people to improve the service we provide to passengers and airlines in the weeks and months ahead."

Members of Prospect and the Public and Commercial Services union will also be balloted on the new offer.