BAA staff to be balloted on industrial action

Managerial, technical and support staff at UK airport operator BAA are to be balloted on industrial action following the breakdown of talks to resolve an ongoing pay dispute.

In consultative ballots, members of the three unions recognised at BAA – Prospect, Unite and PCS – each returned votes in excess of 90% in favour of rejecting a pay offer that would provide a 1% increase to basic salary, with a further 0.5% linked to a new attendance management policy.

The unions also claim BAA has refused to honour a £450 one-off payment agreed as part of the 2009 deal and an expected airport bonus normally paid within the summer period.

BAA operates Heathrow and Stansted airports in the London area, as well as Glasgow, Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Southampton airports.

Prospect negotiator Ben Middleton said: “Given that BAA staff accepted a pay freeze in 2009 to assist the company during a difficult period, the union made it absolutely clear that BAA has let its workforce down badly.”

BAA said it believed its conditional 1.5% offer was “reasonable”. In a statement it said: “We regret Unite’s decision, which will cause unnecessary concern for millions of our passengers and damage Britain’s reputation around the world.”

The strike ballot among Unite’s 6,185 BAA members will open on 23 July and close on 12 August.

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