British Airways worker, Duncan Holley, has been fired by the airline after Mr Holley was found to have taken time off before Christmas in order to do trade union work.

Mr Holley has been working as branch secretary of the British Airways Stewards and Stewardesses Association, a section of mega-union Unite, for 12 years.

The airline has said that it would not comment on the case, however Mr Holley has reportedly said that his removal is "politically motivated". He is the fifth union member to have lost his job since a series of strikes earlier this year.

Relations between BA and Unite are at an all time low, following the strikes. The strikes were sparked by cost-cutting measures proposed by the airline, which last year made a record loss of £401 million and is expected to announce greater losses this year.

The airline decided to cut staff numbers on long haul flights by one person. Unite said such a move increased the workload of cabin crew workers and reduced customer service levels. BA refused to back down and warned that strikers would lose their travel concessions, a threat that was carried out following the strike.

Unite members are currently voting on a new offer from BA, which Unite has urged its members to reject as BA is refusing to reinstate travel concessions.

By 13:57 shares in British Airways were down 3.41 per cent to 311.80 pence per share.