BAA Workers, Unite Union Members Vote for Strike Action. Legally NO action before 23rd August. Unions says negotiation is still possible to avoid UK BAA airports shut down.
"A strike by BAA workers will do nothing but harm to Britain and the travel industry", David Cameron, UK Prime Minister said today [Thursday 12th August 2010].
Speaking in advance of the result now confirmed by ballot to go ahead with strike action by staff at six out of seven BAA owned airports, David Cameron said he hoped they would not go ahead.
"These sorts of strikes never achieve anything apart from damage - damage to business, damage to jobs, damage to the interests of tourists who want to come to visit Britain, or people who want to leave Britain and have a holiday overseas. I very much hope that they don't go ahead. They will do nothing but harm. We want to demonstrate that Britain is open for business." commenteed Mr Cameron.
Julian Bray Aviation Expert comments: "This is yet another case of the Unite union sponsoring Turkeys voting for Christmas. There is no logic to it. If the strike by airport workers orchestrated by Unite goes ahead and there is still time before the 23rd August to reverse the 2/3 voting mandate to strike, it will cause widespread disruption mainly to the UK air holiday market as the strike timetable will take in the busy August Bank holiday period. It will however impact on all world airlines in and out of the UK and possibly hit visitors to the UK if their return or fly though date is anytime after August 23rd. Its also little use trying for an European mainland hub airport as ferries and Eurostar trains are currently almost running at full capacity.
Some holiday operators are making arrangements to bus holidaymakers to smaller non BAA airports and to airport hubs on mainland Europe and in Ireland. The longer term worry is that not only is a series of Unite organised British Airways strikes still a distinct possibility, but any strikes by BAA airport workers will fully close Airports down as the membership includes fire and emergency crews and other ground staff/ This shut down will also effectively scupper BA emergency plans to mitigate their cabin crew strike but will also see several smaller airlines almost immediately go to the wall ie into administration.
Apart from being the Union behind the British Airways series of strikes by cabin staff, the union has widespread membership throughout airports owned by the Spanish controlled BAA Group. The Unite union has balloted 6,000 staff in Union membership at Gatwick, Stansted, Southampton, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Edinburgh airports over possible strike action over a 1 per cent pay increase offered to airport workers by the Spanish owned BAA.
"Squeezed by the banks refusing to extend credit, massive discounting of 2010 unsold holidays by major operators and a prospect of massive vconsolidation in 2011 and now saddled with higher operating costs and the prospect of expensive leased aircraft being grounded, will simply be the straw that broke the camels back." added Julian Bray, Aviation Expert.
The Union argues that staff have already accepted a pay freeze last year and says they should be given a performance related bonus promised earlier by BAA.
BAA counters the Union demand by saying it has made a reasonable offer during a time of recession.
Meanwhile a planned strike by Spanish air traffic controllers this month has been cancelled after their union UNSCA agreed to postpone any action.
Non BAA airports such as Norwich are not affected.
Contributor: Aviation & Media Expert Julian Bray
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