BAA staff including security staff, engineers and fire-fighters have voted in favour of strike action, raising the prospect of industrial action at the operator’s six UK airports.
The Unite union said BAA members had “delivered a substantial vote for strike action in a dispute over a derisory one per cent pay offer”. Of the 6,185 staff balloted, 2,263 of the 3,055 papers returned were in favour of industrial action.
Unite national officer for civil aviation, Brendan Gold, added: "This ballot result reflects what our members feel about BAA's current attitude. For the past four months BAA has refused to even meet with us. BAA is doing passengers a great disservice by allowing this dispute to get to this stage. We are therefore calling on BAA to return to the negotiating table with a fair offer."
In response to the ballot result BAA has released a statement on its website saying:
“We regret the uncertainty caused to our passengers by the trade union’s ballot for strike action at our UK airports.
“At this stage no dates for industrial action have been announced and no flights from our UK airports are affected.
“More than half of those eligible to vote have not done so and we believe the ballot result does not provide a clear mandate for strike action. We believe that our offer of a conditional 1.5 per cent pay increase is fair and reasonable during a very difficult economic climate for the aviation industry. We hope that the trade union will engage with us quickly to conclude an agreement, and we have suggested talks.”
Unite says it will now meet with key representatives on Monday August 16, “to decide what form of industrial action union members will take”. If strike action does take place it could affect all of BAA’s UK airports, including Heathrow, Stansted, Southampton, Glasgow, Aberdeen and Edinburgh.
Report by Mark Caswell