Baggage handlers and check-in staff at four of Britain’s busiest airports have voted in favour of strike action in a dispute over pay.

A ballot of Swissport staff at Gatwick, Heathrow, Stansted and Manchester suggested that 94 per cent supported the walk-out, the Unite union said yesterday.

It represents almost 1,000 workers at the company.

Swissport’s clients include Ryanair, Thomas Cook and Thomson at Stansted; Monarch, Thomson, Thomas Cook, Virgin Atlantic and Emirates at Manchester; Monarch, Thomson, Thomas Cook, Virgin and British Airways at Gatwick and Virgin at Heathrow.

A meeting between Swissport and the union will take place today in a bid to resolve the matter.

“In the light of this overwhelming mandate for action Swissport has requested talks which we are happy to attend so we can try to resolve this matter,” said Oliver Richardson, Unite national officer.

“The dispute centres on the company’s decision to freeze workers pay for eighteen months, from April 2012 through to October 2013, followed by a below inflation increase of just 2.5 per cent.

“Our members are struggling to keep up with the rising cost of living and Unite believes Swissport is failing to recognise the contribution its staff are making to the success of the company. We hope that over the coming days we will be able to thrash out a deal with the company but this will depend on whether the company is prepared to move on from its current position on pay.”

Follow @TelegraphTravel

Photo Credit: Baggage reclaim at London's Heathrow. markhillary / Flickr