UK - The first of the three planned strike actions at the UK's busiest airports has been halted after airport operator BAA has said it will hold back from closing its final salary pension scheme.

A spokesman for BAA said, BAA and the trade unions Unite and PCS have reached an agreement in principle, following discussions on New Year's Eve.

He declined to disclose the nature of this agreement, though added the unions have agreed to call off the 24-hour strike scheduled for January 7, which was being staged in protest to closure of the BAA final salary pension scheme to new members from December 1, 2007.

"The trade unions will now consult their members on the proposed agreement and, to allow sufficient time for that, have agreed to call off the industrial action planned for 7 January 2008," added the spokesman.

BAA has now agreed to keep the pension scheme open to new entrants pending further discussions with the unions.

Two more walkouts by thousands of workers at BAA's seven airports, including London's Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted loom on January 14 and 17.

BAA and the unions will get together again this Friday to continue their discussions.

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