Socialist Worker

Big vote for strike at BAA British Airports Authority

Issue No. 2214

Over 6,000 members of the Unite union working at six airports have voted overwhelmingly to strike in protest against the offer of a 1 percent pay “increase”.

British Airport Authority (BAA) bosses have confirmed its airports including Heathrow, Stansted, Southampton, Glasgow, Aberdeen and Edinburgh will have to close on strike days because of the loss of essential staff.

The 6,185 workers balloted include firefighters, security staff, engineers, and support staff.

It was a 74 percent yes vote for strikes on a turnout of around 50 percent.

Workers accepted a pay freeze last year, but are not prepared to see another year of falling living standards. Management have also refused to pay two bonuses worth over £1,000 which workers expected to receive.

Unite national officer for civil aviation, Brian Boyd, said, ' BAA’s chief executive Colin Matthews recently hailed BAA's financial performance and passenger numbers at Heathrow reached a record high in July. BAA has constantly ignored the contribution its employees make to the ongoing success of the business.

“Unite members have delivered a strong message that they deserve more.”

Unite national officer for civil aviation, Brendan Gold, added, 'This ballot result reflects what our members feel about BAA's current attitude. For the past four months BAA has refused to even meet with us. BAA is doing passengers a great disservice by allowing this dispute to get to this stage.”

BAA bosses will no doubt be following the general trend nowadays and will be sniffing around for a trivial excuse to rush to the courts and halt the strike.

They must not be allowed to get away with it.

Unite should call strikes as soon as possible. Union leaders will meet with BAA reps on Monday to discuss what action to call.

A victory at BAA would be a sign to workers everywhere that they can fight and win.

But it is a massive missed opportunity that the BA cabin crew ballot has been delayed and does not coincide with the BAA action. Together both groups of workers could guarantee victory for all of them.


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