BRITISH Airways (BA) cabin crew have voted in favour of industrial action over pay and conditions.
According to the Unite Union, which represents the 12,000 crew, 81 per cent of the 9,000 who returned ballots voted in favour of a strike.
Unite assistant general secretary Len McCluskey said: “With this overwhelming vote in the teeth of BA harassment and media misrepresentation, BA’s cabin crew have made clear that the deep sense of grievance they feel about their treatment by their employer remains.”
BA chief executive Willie Walsh wants 3,000 staff to switch to part-time working, three- quarters of crew to accept a pay freeze this year and to reduce onboard crew members from 15 to 14 on long-haul flights from London Heathrow.
The airline said: “The outcome of Unite’s ballot is very disappointing and brings a renewed threat of industrial action, which is completely unjustified. However, we will not allow Unite to ruin this company.”
It is believed BA has been training other staff, including pilots, to replace the cabin crew if the new strike goes ahead.
Unite has not announced any specific dates for action but has ruled out strikes over the Easter holidays at the start of April.
BA employees’ last planned strike over the Christmas period was declared illegal in the courts.
Lufthansa, the German airline, is facing similar problems to rival BA but has managed to suspend a strike by 4,000 of its pilots for two weeks.
Due to start yesterday, the strike was meant to last four days, but the German flag-carrier’s pilot’s union said it was prepared to resume talks.
Pilots are striking over the airline’s plans to cut staff costs by shifting jobs to foreign units.