Unite and the GMB unions have announced that the industrial dispute affecting BA check-in staff at Heathrow airport has been suspended after the company made a ‘vastly improved’ pay offer.
Extensive negotiations were held on Wednesday 6 July during which an agreement was reached. Unite will now ballot members involved in the dispute on the proposed offer.
More than 700 check-in staff and ground-handling agents had voted for industrial action, seeking to reverse a 10% pay cut imposed during the pandemic when global lockdowns grounded flights.
Union sources said the deal comes close to restoring the cut and reinstated enhanced pay for specific types of shifts. Staff would also receive a one-off payment.
The airline had at first refused a return to the same compensation as previously, offering a 10% one-off bonus instead. Unite and GMB had said this was unfair given that bosses had restored their own pay to pre-pandemic levels.
A BA spokesperson said the company was “very pleased” by the unions’ decision not to issue strike dates, calling it “great news for our customers and our people”.
Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “We welcome that BA has finally listened to the voice of its check-in staff. Unite has repeatedly warned that pay disputes at BA were inevitable unless the company took our members’ legitimate grievances seriously.”
Nadine Houghton, GMB national officer, said the airline’s move to resolve the dispute was long overdue. “It is very clear that workers organising and threatening industrial action is what has delivered,” she said.
“All our members – who are predominantly low paid women – wanted was to be given back the pay cuts BA imposed on them during the pandemic, threatening them with fire and rehire if they said no.
“These are frontline workers facing anger from customers daily. The least they deserved was fair pay.”
At the end of June, some Heathrow-based cabin crews working for third party operators gained an 18% pay rise.