Last-ditch effort to avert airport chaos

Talks
aimed at averting travel chaos at airports over the August Bank Holiday weekend
are set to be held after a union representing thousands of British Airways (BA)
staff named dates for 24-hour strikes.

The
GMB said workers will walkout on either 27, 28, 29 or 30 August unless a
long-running dispute over pay is resolved.

Many
of BA’s flights for the Bank Holiday are already full and holidaymakers would
have trouble switching to other airlines because the weekend is one of the
busiest of the year.

BA
expects to carry 100,000 passengers a day over the Bank Holiday and will face
huge problems if the stoppage goes ahead.

Allan
Black, national officer at the GMB, admitted that the effects of a strike on BA
and passengers would be "devastating". He said he would contact two
other unions involved in the row to suggest a new proposal which he plans to
put forward at a meeting with BA managers.

The
plan involves agreeing a pay rise for this year and continuing negotiations
over wage increases for the next two years.

BA
has been seeking a three-year pay deal, offering a rise of 8.5 per cent or 10.5
per cent if it did not count towards pensions.

By Mike Berry

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