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Labor union, airport avert midnight London Heathrow strike

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 between workers 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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