Strikes at UK airports to go ahead

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Strikes at Gatwick, Heathrow, Stansted and other BAA airports are set to go ahead in January after talks to avert them broke down.

The first strike day is 7 January and is expected to mean cancelled flights at all BAA's seven UK airports - Gatwick, Heathrow, Stansted, Southampton, Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen. The Unite union expects all seven airports to close as they will not be able to operate without key staff including airport security, firefighters and maintenance workers.

No further talks between the union and management have been scheduled, but union officials say there is still time to negotiate and avert the strikes. "As things stand, the industrial action set to begin on January 7 will go ahead," a Unite spokesman said.

There will be a further 24 hour strike at UK airports on 14 January and a 48 hour strike starting on 17 January if the dispute about BAA's decision to close the final salary pension scheme to new employees is not resolved.

With many people catching flights back to the UK after the New Year holiday, the strike on 7 January is likely to cause travel chaos across the UK. Flight cancellations at Gatwick, Heathrow, Stansted, Glasgow and the other BAA airports may have a knock-on affect at other UK airports. And road and rail travel to airports, airport car parks and airport hotels will also be affected by the airport strikes.

Last week BAA announced: "We continue to believe that industrial action is unnecessary as none of our existing employees will be affected by the changes to our pension arrangements. However we do recognise that there are important concerns and these will continue to be addressed through discussions with the unions and staff. We would ask for the understanding of the passengers as we work hard to resolve this issue".

Written by: Nick Purdom


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