CABIN crew at easyJet are planning to strike this summer in a move that could bring misery to hundreds of thousands of holidaymakers.
The strike – the first by British-based easyJet crew – is likely to take place next month.
And that would potentially ground thousands of flights, hitting families heading off on sunshine breaks during the school holidays.
Bosses at easyJet have offered cabin crew a pay rise of two per cent but that has been refused by union officials. They want a higher amount to reflect the responsibilities and long working hours.
Some cabin crew have a basic salary of just £10,000, with most relying on commission from items sold onboard to boost their pay.
Union officials from Unite and easyJet executives have been locked in talks for several weeks.
Discussions broke down and Unite are expected to serve notice on easyJet of their intention to ballot for a strike. Voting papers are expected to start going out to members shortly.
Unite regional officer Kevin Hall said: “Cabin crew have worked hard to make easyJet a success enabling the company to record pre-tax profits in excess of half a billion.
“All our members are asking for is a decent pay rise that reflects the important role they have played in making Easyjet a leading airline.”
Luton-based easyJet, founded 20 years ago by by Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou, 48, who owns 34 per cent of the business along with his family, flies over 60 million passengers a year.
It made a pre-tax profit of £581million last year while its chief executive Carolyn McCall, 53, pocketed nearly £7.7m in pay, bonuses and shares.
A spokesman for easyJet said: “We believe it is right to make the award now since cabin crew, the majority of whom are not union members, have been waiting for a conclusion to the pay discussions for a number of months.
“The offer includes increases of up to 5.1 per cent over two years on top of a market-leading set of pay and conditions.”