British Airways passengers have once more been left facing uncertainty over their travel arrangements after the airline's cabin crew voted to strike for the fourth time in just over a year.

The Unite union said yesterday that its members had voted in favour of further industrial action by 5,751 to 1,579, on a turnout of 75 per cent, demanding the restoration of travel concessions, arbitration of disciplinary cases and the payment of outstanding sick pay. Unite needs to give seven days' notice of the strike, for which no dates have yet been set.

Unite's newly elected General Secretary, Len McCluskey, said: "For the fourth time in 13 months, British Airways cabin crew have voted overwhelmingly in support of their union and expressed their dissatisfaction with management behaviour.... Surely BA management must now wake up and listen to the voice of their skilled and dedicated employees."

BA, which formally merged with the Spanish airline Iberia yesterday, said in response that it had contingency plans which would allow it to run normal timetables from London Gatwick and City airports, as well as all long-haul and many short-haul flights from Heathrow.