Pilots at Virgin Atlantic have voted in favour of industrial action in a dispute over pay.
The British Air Line Pilots’ Association (Balpa) confirmed 97 per cent of its members voted in favour of industrial action, from a ballot turnout of 94 percent, a result it said was “overwhelming”.
A vote was called last month after talks started in 2010 broken down.
The two sides were unable to reach an agreement despite the involvement of the Government’s conciliation service ACAS.
“Over the past three years Virgin Atlantic pilots have made sacrifices to help the business on the basis that fair pay would return but what the company offering is certainly not fair,” argued a statement from Balpa.
Virgin has offered pilots a pay increase of four per cent this year, with further rise of three per cent in 2012 and 2013.
However, Balpa argues this does not reflect the fact pilots have not had a rise since 2008, and the proposed three per cent increases would mean that with inflation running at five per cent and likely to remain high, VA pilots would, if they accepted these increases, be “in effect voting themselves years of wage cuts”.
Bob Atkinson, travel expert for www.travelsupermarket.com comments on today’s announcement that Balpa has secured a ballot for strike action from Virgin Atlantic pilots: “We are disappointed and frustrated that customers of Virgin Atlantic face the potential of strike action in the coming weeks.
“The last thing that any holidaymaker or business traveller needs is uncertainty over their travel plans and the threat of flight cancellations. Disruption as we head into the busy summer months is bad news for consumers,” he added.