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Last Updated: Tuesday, 22 August 2006, 22:36 GMT 23:36 UK
Unions call off Stansted strike
Stansted departure sign
Talks to avert a strike at Stansted resumed on Tuesday
Unions at Stansted Airport have called off a proposed Bank Holiday Weekend strike after accepting a pay offer.

Baggage handlers and check-in staff had threatened to walk out in a dispute with ground handling company Swissport.

But after three days of talks, the Transport and General Workers' Union (T&G) and GMB said they had agreed to an improved salary deal.

The GMB said Swissport had offered an 11% rise over two years, and it would recommend its members accept the offer.

Strike ballot

Maureen Byrne, T&G regional industrial organiser, said Swissport's offer was a "substantial improvement".

The unions said they had suspended strikes pending a ballot of members.

The talks followed an official strike ballot of 500 GMB members employed by Swissport, who rejected a pay offer and voted by three to one for industrial action.

The strike at Stansted had been scheduled to begin at 0500 BST on Saturday and continue until 0800 BST the following day, and again from 0500 BST on Bank Holiday Monday until 0800 BST on Tuesday.

The GMB had predicted flights at the airport would be "severely disrupted".

The workers provide ground-handling services, including check-in and baggage handling, for about 80% of the passengers who use Stansted, the union said.

Swissport holds the ground-handling contracts for Ryanair and Easyjet and a number of the holiday charter airlines who use Stansted.

Planned strikes on the Gatwick Express airport train service over the Bank Holiday weekend were also suspended on Tuesday.

Gatwick Express management said planned strikes by train drivers on 25 and 29 August and 8 September had been suspended while a new pay offer was considered.


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