After 9 hours of talks with BAA, Unite has accepted the new offer and called off the strike. However, Unite needs to conduct a ballot of its members on the fresh offer. This would take a few weeks’ time.

The BAA Strike Drama-All’s Well that Ends WellMillions of air travellers can finally heave a sigh of relief in the light of the fact the BAA strike has been averted, at least for the near future. Last week, there was a vote in favour of a strike by thousands of BAA employees as a protest against the supposedly meagre pay hike. However, the BAA and Unite had decided to hold talks to probe the possibility of averting a strike as such an action would have meant upsetting the travel plans of millions of passengers and grounding hundreds of flights.

These talks have been reported by the sources to have brought about the desired results in the form of BAA offering a much more enhanced package, which includes a 2% hike in basic pay. BAA is the owner and manager of Heathrow, Stansted, Southampton, Glasgow, Aberdeen and Edinburgh airports. It was reported that workers manning essential services like fire fighting, security, and engineering were to be a part of the strike.

How did it all Start

At the centre of this controversy is the issue of pay hike. The BAA announced a pay rise of 1% along with a provision for a possible raise of another 0.5%. This possible additional raise may only have been given out if the employees were ready to accept the changes made to the sickness agreement of the firm.

The overall hike was unacceptable to Unite and it described the hike as measly. In fact, Unite had been looking for a pay rise of some 2.5%. The union defended this expectation saying that last year the employees had cooperated with the changes made to BAA’s pension scheme and had even abided by a wage freeze. According to Unite, all these factors justified a significantly higher pay rise.

The Current Scenario

After a 9 hour negotiation, the BAA and Unite finally struck a deal. The sources have revealed that the affected staff would be getting a 2% hike in basic pay and allowances with effect from 1st January, 2010. Furthermore, there would be no changes to the existing sickness compensation plan. BAA would also pay a per head lump sum amount of £500 for 2010 and this could go up to £900 subject to the employer airport’s earnings. Out of the lump sum amount, £200 would be paid in September 2010, while the remaining £300 would be paid in March 2011.

However, before the strike can be called off completely, Unite would need to conduct a ballot with its members on the deal. Unite would be recommending its members to accept the enhanced settlement offered by BAA, by voting in favour of it. The voting would take place over the next few weeks. As per sources, this exercise would take at least 3 weeks and logically, there is no possibility of a strike during this period. In fact, chances of a strike are altogether pretty slim as such an action would portray both Unite and BAA in very bad light.

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