Misery looms for August bank holiday if Unite members vote to strike.

Airport news for Travel,Heathrow on 26/07/2010.

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Yet more travel misery could be looming on the horizon for Brits, this time over the big August bank holiday weekend. BAA, which runs Heathrow, Stansted, Glasgow and Edinburgh airports, is locked in a dispute over pay with Unite. Unite, the biggest union in the UK, represents almost two-thirds of BAA staff. Unite is balloting its members over possible strike action.

Ballots went out on Friday to more than 6,000 BAA employees. The members voting on whether to take strike action include security guards and fire fighters, who have the power to shut airports as regulations mandate minimum staffing levels at security gates and fire stations in airports. Voting closes on 12 August. If members decide to go on strike, Unite could order action as early as Thursday, 19 August. The union expects members to back a walkout, after nine out of 10 union members rejected the offer of a one-per-cent pay increase in a consultative ballot.

BAA is the biggest airport operator in the UK. The airports it owns see more than 300,000 passengers every day. BAA said its pay offer was reasonable and included the provision of a further increase of 0.5% if certain conditions were met. Transport Secretary Philip Hammond called for both sides to find a way to resolve the dispute as the disruption of another strike is the last thing passengers need after all the travel mayhem this year.

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