BA has been urged to resolve its dispute with the Unite union after members rejected the latest pay offer raising the prospect of further strikes.

The latest ballot found 82% of Unite members were opposed to the new offer after the union strongly recommended they reject it.

The results of the ballot came just 24 hours after reports that union official Duncan Holley was sacked for gross misconduct for taking time off work to organise industrial action.

BA has been urged to resolve its differences with the union to avoid what would be further damaging disruptance to its services following strikes in March and the recent six day volcanic ash flights ban.

Peter Smith, flights expert from travelsupermarket.com, said: “2010 is turning into an ‘Annus horribilis’ for British travellers as a chain of events have caused disruption to travel plans.

“While BA customers’ loyalty is being tested to the extreme as they face yet more problems caused by industrial action. 

“Strike action would not only be a disaster for BA customers, but also for the airline itself. Having already lost millions during the recent ash disruption, the airline can simply not afford to let this dispute rumble on any longer. 

“BA and Unite must resolve this long running issue once and for all – and behind closed doors.

“There needs to be an end to the customer misery to allow the Great British travelling public to regain confidence in the airline and to travel without disruption.

“The longer this dispute goes on, the more likely it will be that customers will turn their backs on BA and look to travel with alternative carriers where they can.”

BA said in a statement that it was disappointed by the result of the ballot on a deal it described as “very fair”.

It said: “British Airways is disappointed but not surprised that Unite has clearly orchestrated a rejection of a very fair offer that addresses all the concerns raised during 14 months of talks.

“We urge Unite to put an end to this unnecessary dispute and focus on the best interests of its members. There can be nothing positive to be gained from further strikes.”

The carrier added that the vast majority of employees did work during March’s strikes and that they remain the best rewarded in the UK aviation industry and face no pay cut or change in terms and conditions of employment.

Following the ballot Unite must give a week’s notice of any new  strikes and union bosses were meeting today to discuss their next move.

The union said it was “fully committed to supporting our members in furthering this dispute if no resolution is found”.