13-Aug-2010 9:07 AM

Unite members at BAA vote to strike

BAA union, Unite, announced (12-Aug-2010) its members have delivered a substantial vote for strike action in a dispute over a "derisory" 1% pay offer. The union balloted 6,185 staff including security staff, engineers, firefighters and support staff at BAA's six airports: London Heathrow, London Stansted, Southampton, Glasgow, Aberdeen and Edinburgh. 74% of BAA's staff who took part in the ballot voted in favour of strike action.

  • Unite stated the current offer of a 1% increase on basic earnings plus an additional 0.5% conditional on changes to its sickness agreement falls far short of employee expectations. Unite will be meeting with its key representatives on 16-Aug-2010 to decide what form of industrial action to take. It called on BAA to resume negotiations (Reuters, 12-Aug-2010). The union must give BAA a minimum of one week's notice before launching strike action and did not deny that it intends to hold the strike over the Bank Holiday weekend (28-Aug-2010 to 30-Aug-2010) (BBC News, 12-Aug-2010/AAP, 13-Aug-2010). [more]
  • Prospect: BAA managerial, technical and support staff union, Prospect, also announced (12-Aug-2010) its members voted in favour of the strike. The ballot of Prospect’s members produced a 53% vote in favour of strike action while 83% backed action short of a strike, which is likely to include a ban on overtime working and the withdrawal of goodwill. Prospect negotiator, Ben Middleton, said the union would finalise its plan of action following discussions with the other BAA unions, Unite and PCS. [more]
  • BAA: responded stating that it regrets the uncertainty this vote has already caused passengers and airline customers and hopes the union will engage with the company quickly to conclude an agreement. According to the airport operator, fewer than half of those eligible to vote have done so and it does not believe this result provides a clear mandate for strike action. UK regulations require minimum staffing for airport fire stations and security gates, meaning the airports may be forced to close during the strike. The company believes it provided the staff with a "fair" deal. [more]
  • UK Prime Minister, David Cameron, criticised the planned strike action, stating it would do “nothing but harm”.

Unite: "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 GBP1,000 is simply confrontational. CEO Colin Matthews recently hailed BAA's financial performance and passenger numbers at Heathrow reached a record high in July. 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," Brian Boyd, National Officer for Civil Aviation. Source: Unite, 12-Aug-2010.

Unite: "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," Brendan Gold, National Officer for Civil Aviation. Source: Unite, 12-Aug-2010.

UK Government: “These sorts of strikes never achieve anything apart from damage, damage to the business, damage to the jobs, damage to the interests of tourists who want to come to visit Britain or people who want to leave Britain and have a holiday,” David Cameron, Prime Minister. Source: Reuters, 12-Aug-2010.

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