Airport strike talks to begin


Airport strike talks to begin
Talks aimed at avoiding strike action at Britain's busiest airports are to begin this afternoon.

Thousands of workers at seven of the UK's major airports are set to strike three times in the new year after the Spanish owner of airport operator BAA closed its final salary-linked pension scheme to new entrants.

A total of 1,946 members of the Unite union voted for 24-hour strikes starting at 06:00 GMT on January 7th and 14th and a 48-hour strike to commence at 06:00 GMT on January 17th, with 1,108 voting against.

The industrial action - which will include firefighters and security staff - will take place at Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted, Southampton, Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen airports.

Announcing the strike on Friday December 21st, Unite national aviation secretary Brendan Gold said: "This is a two-to-one vote for strike action, which is a powerful mandate and a strong message to BAA to think again and reverse its decision to close the final salary pension scheme to new members."

In response, a spokesman for BAA said: "We continue to believe that industrial action is unnecessary, as none of our existing employees will be affected by the changes to our pension arrangements.

"However, we do recognise that there are important concerns and these will continue to be addresses through discussions with the unions and staff.

"We would ask for the understanding of the passengers as we work hard to resolve this issue."

A BAA spokesperson today said the company's position remained the same.

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