British Airways pilots have voted strongly in favour of industrial action in a dispute with the airline over pay.
Ninety-three per cent of those balloted voted in favour of strike action, on a turnout of 90 per cent.
Brian Strutton, general secretary of the British Airline Pilots’ Association, said: “This strong result demonstrates the resolve of BA pilots, and shows BA that it must table a sensible improved offer if a strike is to be averted.
“Sadly three days of ACAS talks have not moved the company’s position one iota. Settlement of this dispute is in BA’s hands.
“We do not wish to inconvenience customers which is why we have tried to resolve this matter through negotiation starting last November – it is BA who has regrettably chosen to drag this out into the summer months.”
Balpa represents around 85 per cent of British Airways pilots.
High Court challenge
The union has not yet said when it plans to hold the strike action. This is because BA has tabled an immediate legal challenge.
The airline is seeking a High Court injunction over legal technicalities surrounding the ballot. The hearing will take place tomorrow morning.
British Airways said it has offered an 11.5 per cent pay rise over three years.
A spokesperson said: “We are very disappointed that Balpa, the pilots’ union, has chosen to threaten the travel plans of thousands of our customers, over the summer holidays, with possible strike action.
“We remain open to working with Balpa to reach an agreement, which we have been doing since December.
“We continue to pursue every avenue to find a solution to protect our customers’ travel plans and avoid industrial action and we urge Balpa to return to talks as soon as possible.”
A ‘summer of disruptions’
Balpa’s vote means BA pilots will join Heathrow and Gatwick airport staff in striking this summer.
Furthermore, Easyjet check-in staff have planned strikes, which will kick off on Thursday. Ryanair pilots will also vote in the coming weeks on whether to take industrial action in August.
Money.co.uk personal finance expert Salman Haqqi said: “Millions of Brits are facing a summer of disruptions, as a perfect storm of airport and airline strikes could leave their holiday plans in tatters.
“If airline staff strike and your flight to or from the UK is cancelled, thanks to EU regulations, you are entitled to: a full refund; or an alternative flight to your destination from a nearby airport, with the airline responsible for additional travel costs; or an alternative flight on a later date outside the strike period.
“However, this will be scant consolation for many holidaymakers, as the likelihood of being able to book onto an alternative flight during this peak period will be slim to non existent.”