Monarch Airlines faces the prospect of strike action over the peak period as civil aviation union Unite prepares to ballot more than 600 of its cabin crew.

Reports by the Press Association state the ballot, which has been sparked by arguments over pay, will be held in July, and could see staff vote to walk out from airports across the country, including Gatwick, Birmingham, Manchester, Edinburgh, Luton and Dublin.

Unite is urging the airline to pay its members a lump sum, which can be deferred until next year, rather than give them a pay rise.

It is also fighting to win cabin crew an extra allowance while they are in the air, similar to the one pilots receive.

Unite national officer for aviation Brian Boyd told the press agency: “Monarch faces the prospect of a crippling strike at the height of the holiday season.

“The requests of our members are reasonable and are in line with similar negotiations with the other industry operators.

“They represent a practical compromise given the prevailing circumstances.”

A Monarch Airlines spokesman said its senior management are continuing negotiations to resolve the matter.

He added: “Given the current economic situation and its impact on the aviation industry, pay increases and additional benefits for employees are unachievable at the present time.”