BA in fresh dispute with GMB union over check-in staff’s pensions

Another bout of industrial action at British Airways (BA) was narrowly averted last week after discussions between the beleaguered airline and the GMB union.

GMB members, primarily baggage handlers and check-in staff, had rejected BA’s pension scheme offer and threatened strike action. But a meeting between BA chief executive Willie Walsh and GMB general secretary Paul Kenny bought more time.

GMB national negotiator Ed Blissett said: “The talks have been thorough, constructive and frank, and have led to a better understanding of the issues between GMB members and BA.”

But the talks did not reach a consensus about changes to BA’s final salary pension scheme, which would see an increase in the retirement age and higher contributions from workers.

“We will have further talks after BA has considered the proposals we have put to them today. We are exploring every avenue to avoid the need for an industrial ballot,” Blissett added.

A BA spokesman said: “It was a positive and constructive meeting where a number of issues, including pensions, were discussed. We’re happy to meet with the GMB again.”

A two-day strike by thousands of cabin crew was called off in January after talks between BA and the Transport and General Workers’ Union.


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