2pc pay deal 'sets standard for airports'

The deal which averted strikes by thousands of workers at six airports includes a 2 per cent pay rise and a lump sum of £500 and will set the standard for agreements in the aviation industry, union leaders said last night night.

Unite said a new offer by BAA was double the original deal proposed by the airport operator – rejected last week, raising the threat of walkouts at some of the country's busiest airports.

If the strike had gone ahead, it would have caused travel chaos for hundreds of thousands of holidaymakers.

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Firefighters, engineers and security staff at Heathrow, Stansted, Southampton, Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen airports will be urged to accept the new deal in a ballot over the next three weeks.

Unite said the new offer, tabled by BAA during talks at the conciliation service Acas would set the standard for pay deals in the industry.

The offer includes a 2 per cent increase on basic pay and allowances from last January, arrangements for shift pay during periods of sickness to remain unchanged, and a lump sum of 500, with 200 paid next month and the remainder next March. Unite said the lump sum could reach 900 if performance targets are met. National officers Brian Boyd and Brendan Gold said: "This offer is double what BAA had originally offered with no strings attached.

"Plus it comes with a guaranteed lump sum of 500. The negotiations were tough but Unite has delivered a fair offer. With the recession receding in the industry, Unite now expects BAA's pay offer to set the standard."

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BAA said: "All parties brought a constructive approach to negotiations and we are sorry for the uncertainty."

Members of Prospect and the Public and Commercial Services union will be balloted on the offer.