Baggage handlers voted for industrial action in protest at a 4.65 per cent pay offer for three years
Baggage handlers voted for industrial action in protest at a 4.65 per cent pay offer for three years

Ground staff call off pre-Christmas strike, but BA cabin crew stoppage set to continue

Airport workers had planned a stoppage for 23 and 24 December

Simon Calder
Travel Correspondent
Tuesday 20 December 2016 19:00

A threatened strike by airport workers, due to begin on the busiest day of the Christmas season, has been suspended. Talks began at the conciliation service, Acas, between the airport-handling company Swissport and the Unite union. Check-in staff and baggage handlers had planned to walk out on Friday 23 December and Christmas Eve in a dispute about pay.

The union said the strike had been called off after a “breakthrough on the pay and conditions of baggage handlers, check-in staff and ground crew”.

Unite shop stewards will take the offer back to their members.The union’s general secretary, Len McCluskey, said: “That the strike is called off is obviously good news for Unite members and very welcome news for passengers.

“These workers have a powerful case. They are employed on poverty pay rates – this union says that this is not good enough and so we are determined to win them a better deal.”

Mr McCluskey called on British Airways, which is involved in a separate dispute with Unite, to “meet our members halfway”.

Cabin crew members of Unite union who work for the airline’s Mixed Fleet operation are set to strike on Christmas Day and Boxing Day. But BA says all its flights will operate as normal.

Talks between Unite and British Airways have resumed, but against a background of acrimony after the union accused BA of quoting misleading pay figures.

Mr McCluskey said: “It is deeply disappointing that British Airways has put out misleading commentary to the media and broken an agreed embargo on comments while negotiations are ongoing.”

British Airways said it remains “fully committed to finding a solution to this issue”, and thanked passengers for their “support and understanding”.

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