Virgin Atlantic pilots consider strike action over Christmas

Virgin Atlantic pilots are currently considering whether to hold a ballot for strike action, which could see walkouts planned for the Christmas period.

Pilots who are members of the Professional Pilots Union (PPU) have been sent postal votes regarding potential industrial action during the festive period, reports The Sun .

The vote on industrial action comes following a dispute between the airline and union, with the union claiming that its members are being frozen out of talks.

However the PPU does say that it’s been called to a meeting this week where “we hope the company changes its position”.

It’s worth noting that at this stage, there is no industrial action planned by the union.

Meanwhile if any industrial action did take place, it would not be by all Virgin Atlantic pilots – just those who are members of the PPU.

Virgin Atlantic has said that it does not officially recognise the PPU as a union, and that its recognised union is the British Airline Pilots’ Association (BALPA).

A representative for Virgin Atlantic told Mirror Online: “Virgin Atlantic is aware that the PPU, which represents a minority of its pilot workforce, may be considering a ballot for industrial action.

Virgin Atlantic
Virgin Atlantic

“We value our pilot workforce enormously and continue to have constructive dialogue with the union, which is not officially recognised by Virgin Atlantic, along with our recognised union, BALPA.

“We would like to reassure customers that all Virgin Atlantic flights continue to operate as normal.”

A representative from the PPU said: “Despite the Professional Pilots Union (PPU) representing a significant number of Virgin Atlantic pilots the airline refuses to recognise it in any negotiations over its member’s pay and conditions.

“Our issue is not about money, simply the right to be represented by a chosen union. It has a zero cost to the company.

“Within 24 hours of informing the company of our intention to ballot our members on industrial action, we have suddenly been offered last-ditch talks on Friday to avert strike action. We are encouraged by this offer and hope that genuine progress can be made.”

Last year the PPU looked to hold strikes over the Christmas and New Year period, but industrial action was blocked by a High Court injunction which ruled in favour of Virgin Atlantic.

The court ruled that the union had not given Virgin Atlantic sufficient notice of its strike ballot including the number of employees involved.

Of course if any strike action did go ahead, there is a possibility it could disrupt some holidaymakers’ travel plans – we’ve got a guide explaining your rights if a flight is cancelled or delayed because of strike action.

Mirror Online has contacted representatives from the PPU for comment.


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