By Jason Theodorou

Leaders of the Unite union are set to hold talks with airport operators BAA to avoid possible strikes by airport workers, which could impact major airports including Heathrow, Stansted and Glasgow. The dispute is over pay for 6,000 staff including security staff and engineers.

Unite members voted in favour of strikes after receiving a 1% pay offer from BAA. The union said that its members had earned a greater pay rise after accepting a wage freeze in 2009, and allowing their pension scheme to be changed. The two parties are expected to negotiate an agreement through conciliation service Acas.

BAA said in a statement: ‘We hope that we can quickly conclude an agreement, in the interests of the travelling public, our airlines and our staff, the majority of whom did not vote for a strike’.

Unite said that airports were likely to close down if industrial action took place, due to the involvement of key staff including firefighters. Strikes would impact the travel plans of millions of passengers, and could begin as early as the week of 23 August.