Airport strikes may be called off
Strikes at UK airports operated by BAA that would cause widespread travel disruption could be called off following fresh talks today.
Both BAA and union officials appear optimistic that the airport strikes, due to begin on 7 January, may be averted at the last moment.
A union negotiator for the Public and Commercial Services Union, Paul Smith, has told the BBC that he hopes the two sides will have the basis of an agreement by the end of the day.
Talks began again this afternoon following an invitation from BAA to the unions to re-open discussions. Last week BAA gave the unions details of an improved guarantee to deal with issues raised by existing employees. The airport operator also stated: We will continue to do all we can to resolve this dispute since we belive that a strike would not be in the interests of our passengers or our staff.
However, if the sides fail to reach agreement by Wednesday 2 January it is believed that BAA will acknowledge that it is too late to call off the airport strikes and will advise airlines and passengers that all flights will be cancelled at its seven UK airports Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted, Southampton, Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen on 7 January.
Airlines that will be affected by the strikes on 7, 14, 17 and 18 January are starting to make their own position clear. Singapore Airlines, which uses Heathrow, has advised passengers: Despite the inconvenience and operational constraints resulting from the industrial action, Singapore Airlines assures customers who may be affected that the airline will do all it can to mitigate and minimise disruptions.
Like other airlines affected by the strike, Singapore Airlines is seeking further clarification from BAA. Singapore Airlines is awaiting more information from BAA on its contingency plans, and will advise customers of the impact on their flights as soon as the situation becomes clear, the airline states.
Written by: Nick Purdom
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