Threat of travel misery worsens as BA staff consider strike

Union
leaders are meeting to decide whether to set strike dates in a pay dispute with
British Airways (BA), which would threaten travel misery for holidaymakers.

Shop
stewards from the GMB union will meet national officials to decide their next
move following a majority vote in favour of industrial action by its members,
who work mainly as check-in staff at airports including Heathrow and Gatwick.

National
officer Allan Black said he had new proposals to put to the company in a bid to
resolve the row, provided they were accepted by the shop stewards.

However,
the dispute is expected to escalate later this week when the T&G union
announces the result of a ballot among 8,000 of its members at BA, including
baggage handlers.

The
union is confident of achieving a big ‘yes’ vote in favour of industrial
action, which will put further pressure on the company.

The
T&G said that average wages of BA staff had increased by 4.1 per cent
between 2001 and 2004, while inflation had risen by 7.3 per cent over the same
period.

BA’s
profits have grown by more than 50 per cent between 2001 and 2004, while
employee costs had fallen by 11.3 per cent. BA said it remained hopeful of
resolving the row.

By Mike Berry

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