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PCS, Unite End Strike Threat at UK Airports

PCS and Unite unions called off three planned strikes at seven airports in the United Kingdom including London Heathrow (LHR) and London Gatwick (LGW) after reaching an agreement with BAA over several disputes, including pensions.

Media reports indicate that the deal included BAA reversing its decision to close the final salary pension plan to new entrants as of Dec. 1, 2007. The company, owned by Spain-based Grupo Ferrovial SA, also reportedly agreed to not make any changes to its pension plans in the future without consultation.

The first of the 24-hour work stoppages had been scheduled for Jan. 7, with further walkouts planned for Jan. 14 and 17. The unions voted Dec. 21 to authorize the strikes. More than 5,000 airport firefighters, security, maintenance, administrative and clerical workers at the seven airports would have been affected.

“We welcome the announcement by trade unions today that an agreement has been reached and all proposed industrial action has been cancelled. This is good news for our passengers and airline customers,” a BAA spokesman says on the company’s Web site.