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Last Updated: Wednesday, 7 July, 2004, 16:03 GMT 17:03 UK
Deal 'agreed' in airports dispute
Loading luggage
Handlers voted four to one for a strike, but no dates have been set
A pay deal aimed at averting a strike by baggage handlers at 17 airports has been agreed by union negotiators.

Employer Aviance has offered a pay rise of 3.5% which has been accepted by the unions who will recommend it to staff.

Crisis talks at Gatwick appeared to have collapsed earlier when Brendan Gold of the TGWU union left the discussions with no agreement in sight.

Members of the TGWU had backed a strike after a 2.5% pay rise offer. Amicus and GMB unions also attended the talks.

Any action would affect most major airlines and 17 airports - including Gatwick and Heathrow.

'Bad deal'

Before the breakthrough, Amicus said it was going to ballot hundreds of workers at Gatwick and Belfast airports for strike action in the same pay dispute.

Members of the GMB union were also being balloted.

After its ballot on Monday, T&G said it was now up to Aviance to "revisit" its 2.5% pay offer, which was rejected by the union earlier this year.

A spokeswoman for the union said the average wage for baggage handlers and check-in staff was between 15-16,000, and that 2.5% could not be considered a significant rise.

Aviance, which is owned by the Go-Ahead group, employs more than 2,300 workers at Aberdeen, Belfast, Birmingham, Cardiff, Coventry, Edinburgh, Gatwick, Glasgow, Heathrow, Jersey, Leeds Bradford, Liverpool, Luton, Manchester, Stansted, Southampton and Teesside airports.




WATCH AND LISTEN
The BBC's Russel Hayes
"It looks like this potential strike has been avoided"



SEE ALSO:
Baggage handlers vote for strike
05 Jul 04  |  Business
Q&A: Passenger rights
22 Jul 03  |  Business
Tales of travel misery
22 Jul 03  |  UK
Baggage handlers walk out over pay
08 Dec 03  |  Merseyside


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