Virgin Atlantic pilots to strike over Christmas

Virgin Atlantic pilots to strike over Christmas

A number of pilots at Virgin Atlantic will take strike action over the Christmas period.

Pilots represented by the Professional Pilots Union will strike from December 22nd until Christmas Day, on December 25th.

The dispute is centred on union recognition, the PPU said.

The union, which represents about a third of pilots at the airline, said it was excluded from talks over proposed changes to pilot benefits.

Pilots are expected to hold further strikes should the dispute not be resolved.

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Virgin Atlantic said it did not expect any disruption to its schedule.

The other strikes are planned for December 30th to January 2nd and January 2nd-7th January inclusive.

“It’s the last straw; Virgin Atlantic have consistently refused to recognise the PPU as a legitimate and independent union, essentially disenfranchising our members,” said Steve Johnson, spokesman for the PPU and a former Virgin and Red Arrows pilot.

“Despite the rhetoric that consultations are inclusive of all staff and unions, in practice this doesn’t happen.

“We hope that Virgin acknowledge the mandate our members have given us, and help avoid strike action by recognising the PPU and halt the benefits review that is so damaging to our members long-term security.”

He added: “The pilot workforce is a professional and committed group that sees striking as anathema, but clearly feel bullied into this action by a company that chooses to ignore them.” 

The PPU said 72 per cent of its Virgin Atlantic members turned out for a ballot, and 71.5 per cent of those who voted backed strike action.

Commenting on the news Rory Boland, Which? travel editor, said: “This is deeply worrying for families and people desperate to see loved ones over the Christmas period, especially with the strike action potentially starting on what will be one of the busiest travel days of the year.

“Our advice to anyone planning a trip over the Christmas break is not to panic but check with Virgin Atlantic before you travel.

“While we hope Virgin can sort this out, if your journey is affected remember that you do have rights.”