British Airways cabin crew have voted in favour of strikes in a bitter row over jobs and working conditions, raising the renewed threat of action which could cripple flights in the run-up to Easter, it was announced today.
Members of the Unite union voted massively in favour of launching a campaign of industrial action in a long running dispute over cost cutting measures, including reductions in crew numbers.
Unite will hold a mass meeting of workers on Thursday when strike dates are set to be announced, although the union has ruled out taking action over Easter.
The union will have to give seven days' notice of any strikes to the airline, which has been training other staff, including pilots, to take the place of cabin crew if action is held.
The cabin crew were due to take 12 days of strike action over Christmas but BA won a legal challenge after it emerged that the union had balloted hundreds of members who subsequently left the airline.
Unite lost a second legal case last week when it failed to argue that changes to working practices and reductions in crew numbers were unlawful.
More than 80 per cent of those who voted said yes to industrial action on a turnout of 78 per cent.
The union has not announced any dates for strikes stressing that "meaningful negotiations" were the only way to resolve the dispute.
Unite said 7,482 of its members voted in favour of action, with 1,789 voting against.
The vote was only slightly below a 9-1 ballot result last year.
Len McCluskey, assistant general secretary of Unite, 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."Reuse content