New year chaos for travellers

21-12-2007

New year chaos for travellers
Passengers at Britain's busiest airports could be set for travel chaos in the new year after workers voted in favour of strike action.

Unite members at BAA – which operates Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen and Southampton airports – plan to walk out on January 7th and January 14th 2008.

Workers going on strike include security employees and fire-fighters, with Unite claiming "without a doubt" that all seven BAA airports will be closed as a result.

In addition to the two 24-hour strikes, which begin at 06:00 GMT, a 48-hour walkout has been scheduled for January 17th if managers do not meet workers' demands.

Unite balloted its members after BAA closed its pension scheme to new workers.
Speaking at a news conference today announcing the strike action, the union blamed the decision on the airport authority's Spanish owner Ferrovial.

"I have to say very clearly that it is my strong belief that this is not a UK management decision," Unite national aviation officer Brendan Gold said.

Mr Gold revealed 1,946 workers had voted in favour of the action and 1,108 against, giving a majority of 800 that he said proved the "solidarity" of the union's members.

"This demonstrates very clearly the determination of our members to make sure that BAA comes back to the table in a realistic format and honours the commitment to our members," he continued.

"We've given to them a very clear position from the trade union movement, they need to reverse this position."

BAA said it was preparing a response to the industrial action.

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