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One down one to go for British Airways

British Airways has today announced a possible agreement with the GMB and Unite unions which could avert industrial action amongst ground staff at Heathrow Airport. The agreement, which will be voted upon today, could see a voluntary reduction of the 3000 ground staff numbers with a number in the region of 500 suggested by the unions. Those who leave voluntarily will receive enhanced severance packages with possible redeployment options.

However, the long-running dispute between the Unite union and the British Airways management regarding cabin crew members is yet to be resolved and is fast becoming one of the most expensive episodes of industrial action in the private sector. The two parties have been close to agreement on a number of occasions although it seems as though "small print" issues may well have blown these earlier discussions out of the water.

British Airways is fire fighting on a number of fronts at the moment with a significant deficit in the company's pension fund causing financial problems as well as the ongoing industrial action by cabin crew. Many believe that inevitably Willie Walsh will be offered up as some form of sacrificial lamb in order to end the dispute although this may be some time off.

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