Labor union, airport avert midnight London Heathrow strike

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FILE – In this file photo dated Tuesday, June 5, 2018, a plane takes off over a road sign near Heathrow Airport in London. Heathrow Airport officials and union leaders are holding last-ditch talks in hopes of averting a strike at Europe’s busiest airport. Security guards, firefighters, engineers and drivers at Heathrow plan to go on strike at one minute after midnight if negotiations on Sunday, Aug. 4, 2019 fail. The airport cancelled more than 170 flights scheduled for Monday and Tuesday in preparation. Members of the union Unite have voted to reject an offer Heathrow officials said provided a 7.3% pay increase over 2½ years. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth, file)

LONDON (AP) — Heathrow Airport officials and labor union leaders averted the start of a two-day strike by workers at Europe’s busiest airport, agreeing Sunday to keep on talking with a mediator’s help for at least another day.

Security guards, firefighters, engineers and drivers at Heathrow had planned to go on strike at 12:01 a.m. Monday over an ongoing pay dispute.The airport cancelled more than 170 flights scheduled for Monday and Tuesday in preparation of a work stoppage.

Airport workers in the Unite union earlier rejected an offer that Heathrow officials said included a 7.3% pay increase over 2½ years.

Unite officials said they were focused on closing disparities between airport workers doing the same job, as well an “unacceptable” pay gap betweenworkers and Heathrow CEO John Holland-Kaye; his compensation package is worth 4.2 million pounds ($5.1 million).

“It takes Mr. Holland-Kaye around two days to earn what some of the lowest paid Heathrow workers earn in a year,” the union said.

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