The Unite union have announced that cabin crew of the UK's largest airline British Airways (BA) have strongly voted in favour of strike action in a dispute over pay. The dispute over pay between the airline and staff concerns around 4,000 employees who have joined the company since 2010 with more than 2,000 members of staff balloted about potential action. The News comes after cabin crew of the airline rejected a 2% pay rise.

Unite union are yet to reveal when the strike action will take place, and whether or not it will affect customers travelling over the Christmas period, with British Airways accusing Unite of causing concern amongst their customers.

A massive 79% of crew involved in the ballot voted for action, in an attempt to get BA back to the negotiating table over working conditions and salaries.

British Airways "Mixed Fleet" contracts

The main dispute revolves around "Mixed Fleet" given too around 4,000 employees who have joined British Airways since 2010, over 2,000 of which are members of Unite. Staff on "Mixed Fleet" contract receive a different contract and pay to those who worked for BA prior to 2010 with Unite claiming that although salaries for these contracts were advertised at between £21,000 to £25,000 a year, the reality was that salaries really started at £12,000 per annum with £3 an hour flying pay.

Unite also claim that because of the lowly pay for staff on these "Mixed Fleet" contracts, over half of the "Mixed Fleet" staff have been forced to take on second jobs to make ends meet.

A survey conducted by the union also discovered that 84% of British Airways staff on the contracts had reported experiencing stress and depression, with more than two-thirds of crew going to work "unfit to fly". Some employees even claimed they had been forced to sleep in their cars between shifts, as they could not afford the cost of petrol to travel home.

A spokesman for British Airways has said that the airline are "extremely disappointed that the union is creating uncertainty for our customers" whilst the regional officer of Unite, Matt Smith, has described British Airways pay rates as "indefensible." It's also worth noting that the "Mixed Fleet" contractors were not allowed union recognition at first.