British Airways has averted a strike by ground staff at London Heathrow at the start of the school holidays.
Around 1,200 BA ground staff who primarily work on check in had voted in favour of strike action in a dispute with the airline over pay.
BA has now reached a new agreement with the GMB and Unite trade unions. This will be subject to a ballot by their members. As this will come with a recommendation to accept the offer, there should be a vote in favour.
The details of the new offer have not been disclosed but it is described by unions as “vastly improved”.
Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said:
“We welcome that BA has finally listened to the voice of its check-in staff. Unite has repeatedly warned that pay disputes at BA were inevitable unless the company took our members’ legitimate grievances seriously. I pay tribute to, and stand with, our members who have fought hard to protect their pay.”
Unite regional officer Russ Ball said:
“I want to salute the solidarity and bravery of our members, who, through acting in unity, have ensured that a vastly improved offer has been made.
“I am proud to be associated with our check-in members at British Airways.”
This removes the threat of strike action at the start of school holidays. Had talks collapsed the unions would have given two weeks’ notice of strike action.
The peak summer season will still be very challenging for BA due to shortages of ground staff at Heathrow.