United Kingdom, Dec 17 – British Airways cabin crew based at Heathrow airport are to strike on Christmas Day and Boxing Day in a row over pay and conditions.
The action, backed by the Unite union, could involve up to 4,500 staff on “mixed fleet” contracts who joined the airline since 2010.
Unite said they were on lower pay than other staff.
British Airways called the strike “calculated” and “completely unnecessary”.
According to the airline, all long haul flights will proceed as normal, as will all flights out of Gatwick airport and City.
It said it was working on a contingency plan for Heathrow which would be published in the next three days.
It comes after cabin crew who are members of Unite rejected a 2% pay rise offer on Wednesday – 1,200 members voted for the strike, British Airways said, around 7% of its total crew.
The union argued that salaries for those on mixed fleet contracts were advertised between £21,000 and £25,000 but, in reality, started at just over £12,000 plus £3 an hour flying pay.
It said they did “not have collective bargaining rights” and managers had “endured a six-year pay freeze”.
British Airways said it had proposed a “fair and reasonable pay increase” in line with that accepted by other British Airways staff.
The airline said: “We are appalled that Unite proposes to disrupt customers’ travel plans on such special days when so many families are trying to gather together or set off on well-deserved holidays.
“This calculated and heartless action is completely unnecessary and we are determined that it will fail.”
BA said it had approached the conciliation service Acas.
Separately, Virgin Atlantic pilots have voted for industrial action short of a strike in a row over union recognition.
The Professional Pilots’ Union (PPU) said 88.6% of its members had voted in favour of the move, and that the turnout had been 80.3%.
From 23 December, “pilot goodwill” will be removed, which could mean some flights not being covered, the PPU said.
Virgin said it did not expect flights to be affected.
“We have been clear with the PPU leadership team that this action is unnecessary and we remain prepared to recognise the PPU once we have agreed the terms for voluntary recognition,” it said in a statement.
“We expect our flying programme to remain unaffected during this period and want to reassure our customers that all flights are operating as normal.”