British Airways strike threat at Heathrow suspended after ‘improved pay offer’ says union

‘A vastly improved offer has been made’ says Unite

<p>Better days: Check-in concourse at Heathrow Terminal 5, BA’s main base</p>

Better days: Check-in concourse at Heathrow Terminal 5, BA’s main base

The threat of additional travel chaos for thousands of British Airways passengers has been lifted after workers suspended plans for strike action at London Heathrow airport.

A dispute affecting check-in staff at the carrier’s main hub is on hold after the company made an improved pay offer, Unite said on Thursday.

Staff voted overwhelmingly to take industrial action in a dispute over pay, saying a 10% wage cut during the height of the pandemic had not been reversed.

Dates for strike action were expected to be announced this week but an agreement was reached following extensive negotiations on Wednesday.

Unite said it will now ballot members involved in the dispute on the proposed offer.

However, 50 refueling workers have said they intend to stage a 72-hour walkout over wages beginning 21 July; it is unclear how that action will affect the carrier’s operations which have already been hit by industry-wide staffing shortages.

General secretary Sharon Graham said: "We welcome that BA has finally listened to the voice of its check-in staff.

"Unite has repeatedly warned that pay disputes at BA were inevitable unless the company took our members' legitimate grievances seriously.

"I pay tribute to, and stand with, our members who have fought hard to protect their pay."

Unite regional officer Russ Ball said: "I want to salute the solidarity and bravery of our members, who, through acting in unity, have ensured that a vastly improved offer has been made."

Nadine Houghton, GMB national officer, said: “All our members were asking for was what they were owed. British Airways finally moving on pay is long overdue.

“It is very clear that workers organising and threatening industrial action is what has delivered.

“All our members - who are predominantly low-paid women - wanted was to be given back the pay cuts BA imposed on them during the pandemic, threatening them with fire and rehire if they said no.

“These are frontline workers facing anger from customers daily. The least they deserved was fair pay.

“The final decision on any next steps will be taken by them.”

A British Airways spokesperson said: “We are very pleased that, following collaboration with the unions, they have decided not to issue dates for industrial action. This is great news for our customers and our people.”

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