British Airways (BA) may sack three shop stewards after accusing them of encouraging 700 Gate Gourmet staff to walk out last summer.
The senior stewards, union officials who represent baggage handlers at Heathrow, will face disciplinary hearings after the airline suspected they may have incited the work stoppage.
A spokesperson for BA said the stewards could have “a case to answer”.
If they are found guilty at the hearings, their dismissal could provoke another major strike from the Transport and General Workers’ Union (T&G).
A union source said: “We are attempting to ensure that BA understands all the ramifications of what it is putting three shop stewards through. If they sack them, we will have to have official industrial action.”
The potential strike follows months of strained negotiations between the airline and the unions. The dispute looked as if it may be resolved after airline caterer Gate Gourmet accepted union proposals last month.
But the disciplinary hearings could cause further difficulties for the airline.