British Airways’ suspension of a cabin crew member for collecting money for colleagues facing disciplinary action has plunged its relations with union Unite to a new low, threatening a fresh strike ballot.

Unite joint general secretary Tony Woodley accused BA of a “bullying and vindictive attitude” over the suspension of cabin crew member Andrea Molton.

In a letter to BA’s head of employee relations, Woodley said: “It beggars belief at this sensitive moment in industrial relations [that] management should seek to take disciplinary action. This meets nobody’s definition of gross industrial misconduct and has led to outrage among BA cabin crew.”

Woodley warned: “The consequences will rest entirely with management.”

BA confirmed a staff member had been suspended following allegations of “bullying and harassment”.

Unite scrapped plans to ballot on a BA offer to end the long-running dispute with cabin crew last week and instead sought fresh talks with the carrier.