Airport strikes: Stansted owner BAA hits back at Unite

STANSTED AIRPORT owner BAA has hit back at proposed strike action that threatens to shut down UK airports over the summer holidays.

Workers, including firefighters, security officers and engineers are unhappy at being offered a conditional 1.5 per cent pay rise and have been balloted this week by the Unite union.

Out of over 6000 workers 3054 returned a vote. But out of that total, 74 per cent staff voted in favour of strikes.

With only around half of staff actually voting BAA has said that the union has no “clear mandate for strike action”.

A spokesman for the company said: “We regret the uncertainty this vote has already caused our passengers and airline customers. We hope that the union will engage with us quickly to conclude an agreement.

“Fewer than half of those people eligible to vote have done so and we do not believe this result provides a clear mandate for strike action.”

Union officials held a press conference at 4pm today (August 12) to announce the ballot result but a strike cannot go ahead for at least seven days.

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However, it seems both sides are still eager to return to the negotiating table.

Unite national officer Bryan Boyd said: “Members have voted in favour of strike action and a total shutdown of BAA airports.

“BAA has had the opportunity to reflect and we will give it further opportunity to reflect and hopefully they will return to the negotiating table.”

He added: “We want to avoid strike action if we possibly can.”

BAA owns Heathrow, Southampton, Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen as well as Stansted.

The spokesman added: “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.”

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