First, it was Post Office staff, then rail workers and then delivery drivers for the catalogue firm Argos. Now Britain is gearing up for yet another strike.

Cabin crew with British Airways have voted overwhelmingly for industrial action in a row over pay, the Unite union has announced. More than 2,000 airline staff were balloted about action at Heathrow Airport, London, ater turning down a pay offer which gave them a two per cent rise.

The action is set to begin on December 21, unless a resolution can be reached before then, and is sure to affect travellers trying to get home or to visit relatives during the festive season.

Of crew who took part in the ballot, 79 per cent voted to take action. Unite is now asking British Airways to return to the negotiating table to continue talks. The row is centered around 4,000 members of staff who have started working for British Airways since 2010 on Mixed Fleet contracts. More than 2,000 of these of Unite members.

Poor pay

According to Unite, staff took on jobs advertised as paying somewhere between £21,000 and £25,000, but in reality they were starting on £12,000 per hour plus a £3 an hour flying pay rate.

Unite said it was no suprise that crew rejected a two per cent pay offer, adding that managers had suffered a six year pay freeze. Meanwhile, added the union, chief executive Willie Walsh made £8.8 million while the British Airways parent company IAG reported profits of £1.4 billion, which is up 64 per cent from 2015.

Unite recently conducted a survey, finding that 50 per cent of Mixed Fleet staff had taken on second jobs while more than two thirds went to work even if they were ill because they could not afford to take time off. The union said many were suffering from stress and depression and some were sleeping in their cars between flights because they could not afford to put fuel in to get home.