Airport staff set to strike

Eastleigfh airport has already suffered closures this year

Unite union workers at Eastleigh Airport employed by BAA have voted 3 -1 to take strike action in support of a pay claim.

The union will be meeting on Monday to decide if and when strikes go ahead

These could commence as early as Monday, August 23 and strike action over the busy August bank Holiday weekend would maximise disruption to services.

The Union want the company to improve on its 1.5% pay offer and to reinstate an annual bonus which can be worth up to £1200.

Last year staff at Spanish owned BAA accepted a pay freeze and the union say an improvement in the companies trading position means that a higher pay rise is affordable.

The union have issued a statement saying it was disappointed that other options had been exhausted and hoped that customers:

“..will see that the blame lies with BAA – which is a hugely successful global company – and not with hardworking men and women trying to protect their living standards.”

BAA have criticised the ballot saying that as fewer than half the workforce took part the result was not a mandate for strike action.

In a separate press release Irish airline Ryanair – who would be forced to cancel up to 300 flights a day if the strike went ahead – attacked British Airport Authority staff as ‘selfish and underworked’ suggesting they only deserved a pay cut.

Meanwhile conciliation service ACAS have indicated that fresh talks between the two sides might be held as early as Monday.

Staff involved in the strike would include security guards and firefighters – who are trained to enter burning aircraft to rescue passengers on a basic wage of £21k a year.

Ferrovial, the Spanish company who own BAA last year had a net income of €92 million and have just raised €3 billion from the sale of assets including Gatwick airport.

Eastleigh Airport has already suffered closures this year due to the volcanic ash cloud which was estimated to cost BAA £50,000 a day.