More than 2,000 British Airways (BA) staff have rejected the airline’s plans to cut jobs and pay.

Arbitration service Acas will now chair a meeting between the airline’s management and unions on July 8 to try to resolve a dispute that threatens to escalate into strikes this summer.

Cabin crew, baggage handlers and admin staff have not yet agreed to the cost-cutting proposals, although the Unite union said it would consider a two-year pay freeze sought by the airline. The stumbling block is a proposal to slash new starters’ pay. The unions said they will not accept a two-tier workforce.

Pilots will make their feelings known on a proposed pay cut in a ballot due by July 13.

BA chief executive Willie Walsh warned that the airline was in a “fight for survival” and wanted to cut 3,700 jobs by March 2010, having already axed 2,500. The airline reported a £401 million loss in the year to April, following record profits a year earlier.