BAA staff may resort to strike to press for increased wage hike

The chief of Irish budget carrier Ryanair yesterday slammed plans for a strike among 'selfish' staff at airport operator British Airport Authority (BAA), asking affected passengers to seek compensation from Union boss Derek Simpson.

Shortly after ground staff of the operator of Heathrow, Stansted and four other UK airports voted to go on strike, Ryainair chief Michael O'Leary asked passengers to contact the Unite union general secretary, enclosing his work address and telephone number.

According to industry experts, it may still be possible to avert a strike although essential ground staff, including security guards, firemen and engineers have called for action in response to a 1 per cent pay offer.

A strike would probably lead to all six BAA sites closing including Southampton, Glasgow, Aberdeen and Edinburgh airports.

According to Ryanair spokesman, Daniel de Carvalho, there was no justification for any strikes by the selfish and underworked Unite members at a time when traffic at BAA's airports was falling and they were even less busy than they were last year.

Meanwhile, union chiefs and airline bosses are to meet on Monday amid hopes that plans for closure of six major airports could be reversed.