Unions negotiate comfortable ride for T5 workers, with monthly long-weekends and discounted air fares
For the time being at least, construction workers won't be striking at Terminal 5. The construction unions met contractor Laing O'Rourke on Tuesday to thrash out an acceptable deal for its members working on the £3.7bn Heathrow extension.

The deal allows workers to take a long weekend once a month. Workers will be able to take Friday afternoon off 12 times a year, and for those living a long way from T5 there will be cheap flights to destinations such as Leeds, Manchester, Scotland and the North-east. The discount on flights could be between 20 and 30%, and up to 50% if the planes are chartered.

UCATT, the GMB and the T&G also came to an agreement with Laing O'Rourke over bonus payments, which workers had complained were lower than initially promised. Laing O'Rourke says they will be reviewed every three months to ensure they are in line with workers' expectations. The European working time directive will also apply, which means staff will not work more than 48 hours a week.

The agreement was endorsed by shop stewards on the site on Thursday morning and will be put to workers this morning (Friday). UCATT leader George Brumwell is delighted by the deal: 'We want T5 to be a real success story. The negotiations, which I led for the union side, secured the provision of an on-site health service, safety back-up, a training programme, decent working conditions and decent pay. They were tough negotiations, but we have an agreement that points the way forward for a 21st-century construction industry.'

BAA has also announced health and safety back-up measures at T5. There will be an occupational health centre staffed by six treatment nurses, two occupational nurses and a part-time doctor specialising in occupational health. And there is even an ambulance on site, which will be able to reach any incident within four minutes.

BAA is also upgrading its fleet of buses to bendy buses. These will travel from as far away as the Medway Towns conveying up to 3000 people to site every day. Workers will also get a site newspaper and a convenience store will be opened by the end of the month.