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British airport workers in pre-strike talks

LONDON — Britain’s airports operator and a union are holding talks in an attempt to avert strikes that could close the country’s major airports later this month.

Ground staff voted last week in favor of walkouts at airports including Heathrow, Stansted, Glasgow and Edinburgh.

BAA has said it will have to shut down the airports if the walkout goes ahead because the striking workers include security staff, engineers and firefighters.

Analysts speculate the Unite union will select the August bank holiday weekend — the last weekend of the month — to maximize disruption.

Workers are protesting a 1 percent pay raise this year after they accepted a salary freeze last year. BAA has offered an additional 0.5 percent, but that is conditional on changes to sick leave.

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