A union official representing British Airways cabin crew has been sacked, inflaming the bitter dispute which has led to a series of strikes.
Duncan Holley, branch secretary of the British Airways Stewards and Stewardesses Association, a section of the giant Unite union, worked for the airline on its Eurofleet business.
He is the fifth union member to be sacked by the airline following a series of walkouts earlier this year which crippled flights and cost BA millions of pounds.
Unite is balloting its 12,000 members on a new offer aimed at resolving the long-running dispute, although officials have recommended rejection.
The union said there were sticking points, including the refusal of BA to fully restore travel concessions taken away from those who went on strike, and the suspension of more than 50 union members who took part in the action.
Unite sources said the sacking of Mr Holley would inflame the dispute, with the ballot not due to close until midnight.
One official said the sacking happened because of Mr Holley's role as the branch secretary of Bassa and stemmed from a "new" interpretation by cabin crew management about the agreed rights of recognised union officers to be released to undertake union duties over a handful of days last December.
The Bassa official said of Mr Holley: "He has always had the strongest opinions and principles possible but, at the same time, he was what you would have expected him to be - utterly fearless and unafraid to represent views to our management, and if they were not prepared to listen, then he would make sure they did."
A BA spokesman said: "The company's disciplinary process has been in place for many years and has been agreed with all of the airline's recognised trade unions, including Unite. As a responsible company, we would not divulge details of individual cases."
The ballot result will be announced on Friday and could lead to fresh strikes being set early next week if members have rejected the deal.