BA cabin crew vote for more strikes

British Airways cabin crew have voted by more than 8-1 to stage fresh strikes in their long-running row with the airline.

The Unite union said its members backed industrial action by 83% in a turnout of 72%, showing their "determination" to continue the dispute.

Of the 10,000 crew polled, 83% of the 6,981 who returned valid ballot papers voted yes to strike action.

Unite said this vote - the fourth official ballot in two years - reflected the "continued resilience" among the crew.

General secretary Len McCluskey said: "This vote shows that cabin crew remain determined to win justice.

"We urge BA's boardroom to see this as a clear message that they must think again about how to regain the trust and confidence of a significant part of their cabin crew operation.

"We continue to be in discussions with the company to find a solution to this long-running dispute."

Unite said 5,811 cabin crew voted in favour of strikes, with 1,170 against and four invalid papers.

The vote raises the prospect of strikes over Easter, a year after union members launched a wave of walkouts which cost BA tens of millions of pounds.

The dispute started almost two years ago over cost-cutting, but spread to other issues including the removal of travel concessions from those who went on strike, and disciplinary action against a number of Unite members.

Unite held back from naming any strike dates, holding out hopes of fresh talks to try to resolve the bitter dispute.

Mr McCluskey has met BA's new chief executive, Keith Williams, who took over from Willie Walsh following the airline's merger with Spanish carrier Iberia.

A BA spokesman said: "This is a time for co-operation, not confrontation. We began talks with Unite earlier this month, and those talks are continuing. We hope they will bring an end to this dispute, which is what the overwhelming majority of our cabin crew want."

Unite will have to give seven days notice of any strikes and will have to start any industrial action within the next 28 days, under employment law.

BA has said that if industrial action is held it will put into place its "well rehearsed" contingency plans and will operate 100% of its long haul flights.

The union has now held five ballots in the last 15 months, which have all returned a huge majority in favour of industrial action.

Unite members held 22 days of strike action last year, costing the airline £150 million.