British Airways' cabin crew have, as expected, voted for a further round of strikes in their long-running dispute with the airline. BA says that if strikes go ahead it will be able to continue to operate the vast majority of its London-originating services.

The Unite union, which represents cabin crew, says that 83% of the 6,981 who responded voted in favour of the action. BA says it employs around 13,500 cabin crew.

Unite general secretary Len McCluskey comments: "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."

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

A spokesman adds that if strikes do go ahead, BA will run all its London Gatwick and London City services, together with all its London Heathrow long-haul services and "the majority of Heathrow short-haul services".

This will be possible, he explains, because since the dispute started, BA has trained up large numbers of staff from other departments who can step in to take over cabin crew duties.

The dispute dates back to November 2009 and was originally a reaction to BA's plans to reduce staffing on-board aircraft. However, it now centres on issues including the restoration of travel concessions withdrawn by the airline from cabin crew who participated in the early strikes.

No firm dates have yet been announced for the next round of strikes. Under UK trade union legislation, Unite must declare these within 28 days of the ballot result and give BA at least a week's notice of any strike.

Source: Air Transport Intelligence news