A proposed strike by British Airways workers that threatened further disruption at Heathrow Airport has been suspended after the airline came to an agreement with check-in staff over a pay dispute on Thursday.
Following extensive negotiations, unions representing BA employees said they will ballot members on the “vastly improved” proposal.
Unite union general secretary Sharon Graham said the airline has “finally listened to the voice of its check-in staff” and has taken its members’ “legitimate grievances seriously”.
In a statement British Airways said: “We are very pleased that, following collaboration with the unions, they have decided not to issue dates for industrial action. This is great news for our customers and our people.”
Clive Wratten, CEO of the Business Travel Association also applauded the suspension.
“We now need to pull together as an industry to ensure that recovery is smooth at a crucial time for the sector,” he added.
The move is a short respite for the UK’s beleaguered aviation industry, which is suffering from ongoing disruption due to staff shortages. Earlier this week British Airways scrapped thousands of flights from its summer 2022 schedule due to staffing issues.
According to data from aviation analytics firm Cirium, the number of last-minute flight cancellations from the UK was up 188 per cent in June 2022, compared to June 2019, despite scheduled flights being down 23 per cent.
Last month saw 3,833 last-minute cancellations, representing 2.5 per cent of total scheduled departures. Average flight delays across the UK’s 28 major airports were also up 71 per cent in June compared to 2019.
On 30 June, the UK government released a 22-point plan to address aviation disruption. The action plan outlined support to see the sector through the peak summer season – including steps to ensure the delivery of a realistic schedule and assistance to recruit and train staff.