Union officials have announced that they will be balloting British Airways cabin crew this week, in order to see if further industrial action is deemed necessary. Airline union Unite said that it felt the negotiations with BA bosses were making progress, but that there were still some issues to be sorted out.

Although the two sides appear to be close to hammering out a deal on working conditions, union officials said that they could not rule out further strike action by its 12,000 members if negotiations faltered this week. They stressed that a strike would be a last resort and that they would also be asking members if they would accept a peace deal from BA.

One of the sticking points which might mean a deal is not reached, is understood to be the fact that during the most recent strike, some union members were issued with disciplinary action and all those who took part had their travel privileges revoked. A union official explained that British Airways had no right to penalize union members who were taking part in a legal and lawful action against the airline.

Any action by cabin crew will not be welcome news to BA, as they struggle to clear the backlog of passengers stranded because of the recent volcanic ash cloud which settled over Europe. The airline claimed that it had been losing between £15 and £20 million a day because its fleet was grounded. The airline also said that it lost £5.5 million a day during the latest strike action.