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Deal agreed to end BA cargo workers’ dispute

Alan Jones, PA Industrial Correspondent
·2-min read

A fresh round of planned strikes by British Airways cargo workers has been called off after a deal aimed at ending a dispute over pay and conditions.

Unite said it expected its members, mainly based at Heathrow Airport, will accept the agreement in a ballot.

Cargo staff took nine days of strike action over Christmas and the New Year and were due to stage more walkouts from this weekend, but these have now been called off.

Unite said the main points of the deal agreed with BA include no compulsory redundancies, a pay rise for most staff and an end to the threat of workers being fired and rehired on worse terms and conditions.

The union said the deadlock in negotiations was broken last week, when BA’s new chief executive officer Sean Doyle became directly involved.

Unite assistant general secretary Howard Beckett said: “This is a tremendous result and finally ends the threat of workers in BA Cargo being fired and rehired at British Airways.

“Huge credit must go to our members in BA Cargo, who firstly overwhelmingly voted for strike action and then delivered on that commitment by undertaking nine days of solid strike action, in the teeth of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Unite recognises the personal involvement of Sean Doyle as significant in achieving a negotiated settlement that our reps now feel able to recommend to our members.

“Fire and rehire is proving to be the present day go-to weapon of the worst type of employers. Workers up and down our nations in many instances are being forced to pay for the Covid crisis with reduced terms and conditions.”

A BA spokesman said: “We’re pleased to have reached an agreement in principle that protects jobs and avoids redundancies at what continues to be an incredibly difficult time for the aviation industry.”

Andy McDonald, Labour’s shadow employment rights and protections secretary, said: “It is fantastic news that a deal looks to be reached that will protect the jobs and terms and conditions of British Airways workers, but it is an outrage that they were put in this position.

“Fire and rehire punishes working people, penalises good employers, and damages our economy.

“The Government should outlaw these tactics so that no more workers face the sack unless they agree to cuts to wages and conditions.”