Staff at British airports cancel planned Christmas strike

Irish people travelling home for Christmas had been warned of potential disruption

Staff at British airports cancel planned Christmas strike

Picture by Dave Thompson PA Wire/PA Images

A 48-hour strike planned by baggage handlers and check-in staff at 18 airports in the UK from Friday has been cancelled, according to a union.

Members of Unite employed by Swissport had been due to walk out for the two days before Christmas, one of the busiest times of the year for travellers.

Irish people travelling home for Christmas had been warned of potential mass disruption to flights.

They had voted for industrial action in protest at a 4.65% pay rise over three years but the strikes were called off after the union's general secretary Len McCluskey said a better pay offer had been received.

He said: "I am delighted to report that we have reached an agreement which our shop stewards will recommend to our members."

The airports affected were to include Gatwick, Heathrow, Birmingham, Manchester, Glasgow, Stansted, East Midlands and Belfast.

Aberdeen, Bristol, Bournemouth, Cardiff, Doncaster, Edinburgh, Leeds/Bradford, Luton, Newcastle and Southampton had also expected to be disrupted.

British Airways cabin crew are due to strike on Christmas Day and St Stephen's Day and talks regarding their dispute - also over pay - are continuing.

Mr McCluskey described progress in those talks as "painfully slow".

The airline has said it still expects to run a full service, however.