Baggage handlers at London's Heathrow Airport had been due to strike for 72 hours from Friday

London (AFP) - Heathrow Airport baggage handlers have suspended a planned strike, their union said on Thursday, as industrial action continues across the UK.

Around 400 members of the Unite union employed by private contractors Menzies had been due to walk out for 72 hours from 4:00 am (0400 GMT) on Friday in a months-long dispute over pay.

But the stoppage was halted as a “gesture of goodwill” after Menzies made an improved pay offer during talks held Thursday between Unite and Menzies, according to the union.

It will now ballot its members on the revised pay offer.

“Unite has been adamant that Menzies was able to offer an improved pay offer and that has proved to be the case,” the union’s regional officer Kevin Hall said in a statement.

Miguel Gomez Sjunnesson, of Menzies, said the firm was “hopeful” that the revised offer would be accepted.

He added the deal would allow the company “to give our employees their well-deserved pay increase and we can focus on delivering the best service during this busy holiday period”.

However, strike action scheduled to begin on December 29 remains in place pending the outcome of the ballot of members.

Britain has seen a growing number of public and private sector workers striking, amid decades-high inflation.

Nurses on Thursday staged an unprecedented walkout across England, Wales and Northern Ireland, while railway workers have this week started a series of 48-hour walk-outs.

Border Force staff checking passports at major airports including Heathrow and Gatwick are set to strike over Christmas.

Security guards employed by the contractor Mitie on the cross-Channel rail link Eurostar were due to strike on Friday and Sunday.

But they called off the walk-out late on Wednesday. Further planned action on December 22 and 23 was still due to go ahead.