*****UPDATE: The BBC reports that staff have accepted the new pay offer, with 75 per cent of GMB union members backing the deal.*****
Forthcoming industrial action by British Airways check-in staff at Heathrow airport has been suspended, following an agreement on pay between the carrier and the Unite union.
Last month we reported that members of the GMB and Unite unions had voted in favour of strike action, over a dispute regarding the 10 per cent pay cut the staff agreed to during the pandemic and future pay.
Workers had looked set to stage a walkout in late July, but Unite confirmed industrial action had been averted after BA made “a vastly improved pay offer”.
The union said that an agreement had been reached following “extensive negotiations”, and would now be put to a ballot of members.
Unite’s general secretary Sharon Graham said the union welcomed “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,” Graham continued.
“I pay tribute to, and stand with, our members who have fought hard to protect their pay.”
Meanwhile Unite regional officer Russ Ball commented:
“I want to salute the solidarity and bravery of our members, who, through acting in unity, have ensured that a vastly improved offer has been made. I am proud to be associated with our check-in members at British Airways.”
Business Traveller has contacted British Airways for comment on the agreement, and will post any response here.
Industry bodies have also welcomed the news, with Clive Wratten, CEO of the Business Travel Association, stating:
“The suspension of the British Airways strike at Heathrow Airport is great news for our industry, and for the check-in staff who have had a positive resolution.
“We now need to pull together as an industry to ensure that recovery is smooth at a crucial time for the sector.”
Earlier this week BA announced plans to cancel a further 10,300 flights between August and October, affecting short-haul services at Gatwick, Heathrow and London City airports.