BAA strikes could see businesses turning to video conferencing

Strikes could bring chaos to business travel in Britain as members of the Unite union voted to strike following disputes over pay.

As reported by The BBC, the strikes would force all six of BAA’s airports to shut because essential staff, such as firefighters would partake. BAA owns and operates Heathrow, Stansted, Southampton, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Aberdeen airports.

Unite and BAA have agreed a meeting to discuss the dispute, with a possible strike date to be announced if talks are unsuccessful. The union only has to give a week’s notice of strike action, however analysts predict it will be the bank holiday weekend in August.

This further highlights the uncertainty experienced by the travel industry and could encourage more businesses to  adopt video conferencing to reduce their reliance on travel.

Video conferencing would allow businesses to hold virtual meetings without facing the risk of cancelled flights or travel chaos disrupting meetings or even forcing them to be cancelled. It also eliminates the risk of an employee, if they manage to reach their destination, being stranded there. That can prove costly, either in terms of trying to get them home, paying for temporary accommodation, or a loss in business output.

The threat of strike action centres on a pay dispute, reports Reuters. Unite said members voted three-to-one in favour of industrial action.

However, a BAA spokesman said that fewer than half of those eligible to vote had done so. “We do not believe this result provides a clear mandate for strike action,” he said. The strike was condemned by the prime minister, who said it would do “nothing but harm”.