British Airways is facing the threat of a fresh wave of strikes by its cabin crew after they voted heavily in favour of more walkouts in their bitter dispute with the airline.
Unite said its members voted by 5,751 to 1,579 to take further industrial action following 22 days of strikes last year which cost the airline more than £150 million.
The union pulled back from naming strike dates and will have to give seven days’ notice of any action.
Unite’s new leader, 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. Indeed, the turnout and the majority on this occasion are much greater than in the last ballot.
“Surely BA management must now wake up and listen to the voice of their skilled and dedicated employees.
“This dispute will be resolved by negotiation, not litigation or confrontation, and it is to negotiation that BA management should now apply itself. We are ready.”
News of the voting figures was revealed as the company completed its merger with Spanish carrier Iberia to create a new holding company, International Consolidated Airlines Group (IAG).
Unite said the turnout in the ballot was 75%, while the majority of those voting for industrial action was 78.5%. The union balloted 10,220 cabin crew staff, 7,330 of whom returned valid papers.
Officials said the size of the turnout and the big majority in favour of industrial action showed the continuing anger and determination of the workers.
Speaking after a meeting of more than 1,000 cabin crew last week, Mr McCluskey said: “If the company believes they have broken the spirit of the cabin crew, they should have been at this meeting to witness the anger of people.”