Workers at UK pilots union British Air Line Pilots Association (BALPA) have voted in favour of strike action next month in a dispute over pensions and salaries.

Thirty-three members of the GMB union, who work for BALPA, have voted to take strike action on 2 July. GMB says the dispute relates to the closure of BALPA’s pension scheme to new entrants, changes to the scheme to existing members and notice given by BALPA that it intends to impose a pay rise.

Talks between the two have so far failed to broker a deal. GMB organiser David Kent says: “There is no economic justification for these changes because BALPA is one of the most successful and financially-robust trade unions in the UK.

“No employer, let alone a trade union, should impose changes to terms and conditions of employment without the agreement of its own staff. BALPA would not tolerate such behaviour from an employer that it was dealing with and GMB will not tolerate this from BALPA.”

BALPA general secretary Jim McAuslan says: “We are naturally disappointed but, like all employers, we face a major shortfall in our defined benefit pension scheme and are making major injections of cash over the next ten years. This recovery plan has been agreed by the scheme's trustees.

“The GMB recognised the need to avoid the deficit getting worse and, following extensive negotiations, recommended a package which will still provide a very good pension scheme for existing employees, a top of the range scheme for new entrants and a two-year pay deal worth up to 10% plus annual leave improvement.

“In today's aviation market, where all our subscriptions come from, this is a good deal and reflects our wish to avoid a dispute. The offer remains on the table despite the strike threat. Naturally we hope our staff will reflect on this.”