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UPDATED: 21:08, August 21, 2004
British Airways strike averted after agreement reached
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A planned strike by British Airways(BA) workers on the August Bank Holiday has been called off after a pay settlement was reached between employers and BA staff, Sky TV reported Saturday.

A walkout of thousands of BA staff planned for next Friday would have grounded hundreds of flights and cost the airline millions of pounds.

BA agreed to give its staff an 8.5 percent pay increase over three years plus a lump sum of 1,000 pounds (1,800 US dollars) in three payments before September 2006.

In return, unions representing BA staff accepted a deal designed to cut absenteeism from work from the current annual average of 17 days to 10 days.

The deal was agreed early Saturday after four days of tough negotiations between the company and union officials.

Leaders of the Transport and General Workers Union and the GMB,Britain's general union, will now recommend the deal to BA workerswho will vote whether to accept it.

Source: Xinhua

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