Baggage strike averted at Heathrow

A
proposed strike of baggage handlers at Heathrow airport has been called off
after an improved pay deal was agreed with union leaders.

The
chief executive of Swissport International was forced to personally intervene
in the negotiations with the Transport & General Workers Union (T&G)
after the Heathrow-based staff threatened to walk out.

Swissport
UK and Swissport Cargo resumed talks on Monday of this week and a revised 2.5
per cent pay offer for 2003 was then endorsed by the T&G shop stewards

The
union confirmed that mass meetings of the T&G members at Swissport will
take place later this week with a recommendation that the deal is accepted.

T&G
national secretary for the aviation industry Brendan Gold said the pay deal for
2003 was back-dated and had been agreed separately from talks on restructuring.

“We
have always been prepared to discuss the future and now we can having agreed a
separate deal on pay for this year.

"The
strike action for this weekend has been called off and we’ll be meeting with
all the T&G members to put the position to them," he said

The
company has indicated that future restructuring will involve job losses, but
said it had issued written assurances that there will be no compulsory
redundancies.

By Ross Wigham

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