Threat of airport strikes lifted

The Unite union has said it is recommending
that its members accept a new offer from BAA of a 2 per cent pay rise plus a
lump sum of at least $779.

The union will now ballot its
members over the next few days and the result should be announced about three
weeks later.

The threat of strikes this month
was averted on Monday when both parties agreed the new offer.

Union members rejected BAA’s
previous 1.5 per cent offer.

The lump sum is a profit-related
bonus, with a guaranteed payout of $779. However, if BAA hits its earnings
targets for the year, the sum will rise to $1,100.

If it achieves 110 per cent of its
target, then $1,400 will be payable. This will be the maximum payment, regardless
of how much BAA exceeds its targets.

A BAA spokesman said it was “a
fair offer for staff in what remains a difficult economic environment for the
aviation industry”.

Unite said: “This offer is
double what BAA had originally offered with no strings attached. The negotiations
were tough but Unite has delivered a fair offer for BAA staff.

“The game is up for employers
in the aviation industry. With the recession receding in the industry, Unite
now expects BAA’s pay offer to set the standard.”

BAA’s original pay offer had been
for a 1 per cent increase, with the possibility of an extra 0.5 per cent if the
union agreed to changes to the company’s sickness agreement.

But Unite members were unhappy at
the offer, and earlier this month voted by three to one in favour of strike
action on a turnout of about 50 per cent.

The airport operator has argued it
needs to keep costs down following a tough year for the industry, when flights
were affected by heavy snow, volcanic ash and a series of strikes at BA.

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