Unite said 13,000 of its members at the airline would vote again on whether to take industrial action / PA

Thousands of British Airways cabin crew are to hold a fresh ballot on strikes, raising a renewed threat of disruption to flights, it was announced today.

Unite said 13,000 of its members at the airline would vote again on whether to take industrial action in a long-running dispute over jobs, pay and working conditions.

The cabin crew were due to stage 12 days of strikes over Christmas, but BA took legal action to prevent the action going ahead.

The High Court ruled that the strikes would have been unlawful because Unite had balloted workers who had subsequently left the airline.

The previous ballot returned a 9-1 majority in favour of action in an 80 per cent turnout, which the union said reflected the anger of cabin crew at imposed changes to their working conditions.

Today's move follows a failure to reach an agreement despite talks over the past few weeks.

Unite said there was still no deal on the crucial issues of imposed changes to the workload and working conditions of the airline's cabin crew.

Len McCluskey, assistant general secretary of Unite, said: "We have been engaged in intensive discussions with the company over the last few days, but unfortunately we have not been able to secure an agreement yet.

"We therefore have to honour our commitment to give our members the voice they were denied by the courts before Christmas, and hold a fresh ballot for industrial action.

"In notifying the company of this, I have reiterated that we want talks to continue, and that the union is prepared to meet any place, any time, to try and reach an agreement which addresses the real concerns of BA's skilled, loyal and professional employees while giving the company the savings it needs to stay airborne.

"We have told management all along that this dispute, and the damage it does to BA's prospects, can only finally be resolved through negotiation.

"That remains our position, and I hope the company will make the best use of the time available before the ballot closes."

The ballot will start in a week's time and raises the prospect of action in the run-up to the busy Easter period.

Unite had put forward a fresh offer aimed at making "substantial savings", including a two-year pay freeze, national officer Steve Turner said.

He told the Press Association that the ballot would close on February 22, raising the threat of industrial action from March 1.

"We have put a fresh proposal on the table which gives the company pretty much what they are looking for in terms of future savings, but unfortunately they have failed to grasp it.

"We have offered to continue talking throughout the balloting process and I hope that common sense will prevail."

Mr Turner said cabin crew were just as angry about the imposed changes to working conditions as they were last year, and he expected another resounding yes vote in the new ballot.

The union was confident BA would not be able to mount another legal challenge to the ballot, he added.