Airport staff union optimistic that strike will be averted

Airport
baggage handlers and check-in staff have rejected an improved pay offer.

The
GMB trade union is hopeful a negotiated settlement can be reached without
industrial action during the peak holiday period.

Employer
Aviance increased its pay offer from 1.5 per cent to 1.8 per cent and also
raised a lump sum payment offer from £150 to £250 after staff had voted by nine
to one in favour of industrial action.

But
the new offer has been rejected by two to one by staff who are mainly based at
Heathrow and Gatwick.

A
series of one-day strikes could happen in August and would include Manchester,
Stansted and Leeds-Bradford airports.

The
staff involved deal with check-in and baggage handling for leading airlines
including Virgin Atlantic, BMI, Monarch and Singapore Airlines.

GMB
senior organiser Ed Blissett said: "Ten hours of talks with the company
yesterday made some progress.

"I
am waiting to hear if a mooted new offer that I can recommend to the members is
available. If not, then strike action is inevitable."

Another
GMB spokesperson added: "We are still hopeful of resolving this through
talks. We are in contact with the employers and that’s a good sign. We remain
hopeful of getting a negotiated settlement."

By Paul Nelson

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