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BAA workers vote to strike

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Workers across BAA’s seven UK airports have voted to strike in the new year.

The dispute has come about because of the closure of the final salary pension scheme for new employees. BAA operates Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted, Southampton, Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen airports.

Trade union Unite represents various airport workers, including firefighters, security, maintenance, administrative and clerical staff. A total of 1,946 Unite members voted for strike action, with 1,108 voting against. There will be a series of strikes, starting with a 24-hour stoppage on 7 January.

Unite national aviation secretary Brendan Gold said: “This is a two to one vote for strike action, which is a powerful mandate and a strong message to BAA to think again and reverse its decision to close the final salary pension scheme to new members.”

He added that it is clear the pension scheme is financially sound, and should be left alone.

“After a series of fruitless meetings with the company, our members have been left with no option but to resort to industrial action to defend their interests. BAA and Ferrovial should understand that the workforce has lost trust in them. Not allowing new employees to join the company’s final salary pension scheme after 1 December was viewed as being the first step in the axing of the whole scheme.”

A spokesman for BAA said: “We continue to believe that industrial action is unnecessary, as none of our existing employees will be affected by the changes to our pension arrangements. However, we do recognise that there are important concerns and these will continue to be addressed through discussions with the unions and staff.”

Meanwhile, Virgin Atlantic cabin crew have voted to take strike action for the first time in the airline’s history, in a dispute over pay. The two 48-hour strikes are also due to take place in January.

Brian Boyd, national officer at Unite, said that the Virgin Atlantic cabin crew have not taken this decision lightly. “They are a world class crew who’ve been undervalued for too long. They are seeking a long-term solution to pay which recognises their loyalty and professionalism.”

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