BAA strike talks continue


BAA strike talks continue
Talks aimed at averting strike action at seven of the UK's airports, including Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted, are set to continue today.

Leaders of the Unite union will again meet with airports operator BAA to try and agree on changes to the contributory scheme, after talks last week failed to reach a resolution.

Workers voted in favour of strike action over changes to pensions in the run-up to Christmas.

The union has called for two 24-hour strikes on January 7th and 14th, and a 48-hour strike on January 17th 2008, which would cause massive air travel disruption for millions of travellers.

The industrial action is set to take place at all seven of BAA's airports - Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted, Southampton, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Aberdeen.

On Friday, a spokesman for BAA said: "BAA is disappointed that today's talks have not succeeded in resolving this dispute.

"As we have said throughout we believe the threat of industrial action is unnecessary because we have guaranteed that existing workers will not be affected by the change to the pension scheme.

"Today we gave further details of an improved guarantee to deal with issues raised by existing employees. We also provided more assurances about the highly competitive replacement defined contribution scheme.

"We will continue to do all we can to resolve this dispute since we believe that a strike would not be in the interests of our passengers or our staff."

Along with BAA, Virgin Atlantic is set to be hit by a walkout from a third of its cabin crew that are members of the Unite union, over pay levels in comparison to rival airlines.

However, unlike BAA, the company has no plans for talks with union. In an open letter obtained by the PA news agency today, Virgin Atlantic founder Sir Richard Branson told his employees the airline would not be offering a higher pay offer, and those unhappy with their wages should consider working elsewhere.

So far eight flights are to be cancelled due to industrial action taking place on January 9th, 10th, 16th and 17th 2008.

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