Members of Unite the Union employed at British Airways Cargo, the majority of whom work at Heathrow Airport, have seen off plans from their employer to make them redundant, then rehire them with worse pay and conditions.
The BA workers had undertaken nine days of strike action over the Christmas/New Year period, causing significant disruption to the company’s cargo services.
Unite had proposed a total of a further nine days of strike action beginning on Friday 22 January but the first three days were called off at the last minute, after progress was made at the negotiations. The next round of strikes due to begin this weekend have also been called
In addition to ending the ‘fire and rehire’ threat, the deal agreed between Unite and British Airways contains a number of other key wins for the cargo workers. These include an increase in pay for a significant proportion of staff, and improved pay protection for staff who sit above the newly agreed rates.
Further, Unite members who were dismissed for refusing to sign up to lower pay and working conditions will be offered their jobs back on the newly agreed terms.
In a post on Twitter, Labour MP for Hayes and Harlington John McDonnell commented on the deal:
“This is what solidarity and determination achieves. Congratulations to all my constituents and others, who as members of @unitetheunion stood firm & secured this breakthrough. Proud of you all”.
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."
Unite’s members at BA Cargo will now be balloted on the deal. It is anticipated that it will be accepted.