Unite Union airport workers, which include airport firefighters and security staff, have rejected a 1 per cent pay deal from the British Airports Authority (BAA). The union workers had accepted a pay freeze in 2009. The Union wants a higher offer as well as a 450 pound performance bonus, should BAA’s owners Ferrovial of Spain meet their earnings target. The workers, should they strike, will close down six UK airports during high volume holiday travel time in August.
Only those that are traveling before August 23 can be assured they will be able to complete their travel plans. Should the union strike they must give one week’s notice. Union leaders are waiting till Monday before deciding what action to take.
The threat of striking during holiday travel time will be a negotiating tool for the Union. The strike would close down Edinburgh, Glasgow and Aberdeen airports in Scotland, as well as Heathrow, Stansted and Southhampton airports. More than 300,000 people flow through those airports daily. Over 2,500 flights a day would be cancelled.
Unite’s Brendan Gold said the strike was not intended to ruin summer holidays for travelers. The Union would not confirm a strike date, saying they would wait until Monday, giving BAA time to revise an offer.
David Cameron said in reference to the strike threat by BAA workers: “These sorts of strikes never achieve anything apart from damage – damage to business, damage to jobs, damage to interests of tourists who want to come to visit Britain, or people who want to leave Britain and have a holiday overseas. I very much hope that they don’t go head.”
“They will do nothing but harm. We want to demonstrate that Britain is open for business.”