British Airways workers at Heathrow call off summer strike

HHundreds of British Airways workers at Heathrow have won huge pay rises in a deal that will avert strikes over the summer.

Check-in staff last month announced a strike at the start of the summer school holidays in a move that would have piled more misery on passengers amid widespread travel chaos.

More than 700 workers were due to leave after a 10% pay cut imposed during the pandemic was not reinstated.

But unions representing workers announced two separate pay deals on Friday that mean the strike will be averted.

GMB said 75% of members backed a new pay offer of an 8% raise, a one-off bonus and the reinstatement of team pay.

Unite members also accepted a new wage offer, which the union said was worth a 13% pay rise for staff, to be paid in stages.

GMB National Manager Nadine Houghton said: “No one wanted a summer strike at Heathrow, but our members had to fight for what was right. This improved pay deal came about because of their efforts.

A British Airways spokesman said the airline was “delighted with this good news”.

The move offers some relief for beleaguered passengers as strikes and staff shortages lead to delays and cancellations across the sector.

Earlier this week, holidaymakers got another reprieve when refueling workers at Heathrow called off planned industrial action.

Members of Unite at Aviation Fuel Services, which fuels jets for airlines such as Virgin, Emirates and KLM, suspended a walkout due to start on Thursday after bosses tabled a new wage offer.

Unite did not reveal the amount of the new wage offer, but workers previously rejected a 10pc. Members will now be elected on the last offer.

The strike threat comes amid Britain’s so-called summer of discontent, with train drivers and postal workers also threatening to walk off the job as soaring inflation eats away at wages.

Meanwhile, Heathrow has been embroiled in a bitter row with airlines over a series of cancellations and chaotic airport scenes.

Airlines say Heathrow has rejected their calls to prepare for a glut of summer bookings.

But writing in The Telegraph this week, Heathrow chairman Lord Deighton blamed the carriers for not attracting enough baggage handlers with higher salaries.

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