Virgin Atlantic cabin crew have voted to take strike action for the first time in the airline’s history in a dispute over pay. An overwhelming 71% of Unite members who took part in the ballot voted in favour of industrial action.
According to the union, the action will consist of 48 hour strikes. The timing and dates of the action are as follows:
0600 hours, Wednesday 9th January 2008 to 0600 hours, Friday 11th January 2008
0600 hours, Wednesday 16th January 2008 to 0600 hours, Friday 18th January 2008
Unite members are calling for a long term solution which addresses the pay differentials between Virgin cabin crew and the crews of its competitors. The staff believe that they have been undervalued for too long and Virgin are failing to recognise their professionalism and loyalty. They believe their pay lags behind many other airlines who fly the same business and holiday routes. According to Unite, cabin crew staff working for British Airways can earn up to £10K more than Virgin cabin crew flying the same business routes and on holiday routes Virgin cabin crew can also earn considerably less than many of their competitors.
The ballot result follows protracted pay negotiations over the last seven months. In November, Unite members rejected the company’s final pay offer of a 2 year deal with 4.8% in the 1st year and RPI in the 2nd year.
Unite National Officer, Brian Boyd, says:
“Virgin Atlantic’s cabin crew have voted for strike action for the first time in the airlines history. They’ve not taken this decision lightly, they are a world class crew who’ve been undervalued for too long. They are seeking a long term solution to pay which recognises their loyalty and professionalism.
“Unite is calling on Virgin Atlantic to get back around the negotiating table to get through this impasse and avoid disruption in the New Year.”
All Virgin cabin crew unite members should now go to our CAT Sector/Virgin Atlantic page, and ensure that they read the ” Call for Action Notice”, and the associated “letter to members”. This provides important information to all our Virgin Atlantic Cabin Crew Membership”.
Meanwhile Virgin Atlantic is intending to operate all of its flights on 9 and 10 January and 16 and 17 January with the exception of three flights each day.
Steve Ridgway, Chief Executive of Virgin Atlantic, said:
“Our main priority now is to ensure that we can get as many of our passengers to their destinations as possible. We do not want to let them down so we have put in place thorough contingency plans which will enable us to run nine out of ten flights on each of the days affected by the action.
“I would like to apologise to our passengers whose travel plans may be disrupted and reassure those who are travelling with us that our number one priority is to get them to their destination.”