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Pilot union row hits Virgin Atlantic

Virgin Atlantic plane Image copyright Reuters

Virgin Atlantic pilots have voted for industrial action short of a strike in a row over union recognition.

The Professional Pilots’ Union (PPU) said 88.6% of its members had voted in favour of the move, and that the turnout had been 80.3%.

From 23 December, “pilot goodwill” will be removed, which could mean some flights not being covered, the PPU said.

Virgin said it did not expect flights to be affected.

The PPU represents the majority of Virgin Atlantic pilots.

Are we facing a Christmas of Discontent?

It was launched three years ago, breaking away from the British Airline Pilots Association [Balpa], and wants to be the airline’s sole union.

‘Disappointed’

“Our members have now voted in favour of industrial action in pursuit of sole recognition of the PPU by Virgin Atlantic,” a statement said.

“As we enter the third year of negotiations to achieve this aim, we urge the CEO of Virgin Atlantic to make a return to the table so that transfer of recognition can be concluded before the start of any action in seven days’ time.”

The PPU said the industrial action could last indefinitely.

Virgin said it was “disappointed” by the action.

“We have been clear with the PPU leadership team that this action is unnecessary and we remain prepared to recognise the PPU once we have agreed the terms for voluntary recognition,” its statement said.

“We expect our flying programme to remain unaffected during this period and want to reassure our customers that all flights are operating as normal.”

Earlier this week, about 2,000 British Airways cabin crew voted to strike in a dispute over pay.

The strike action could begin after 21 December, but Unite has not yet confirmed whether the strike would affect travellers over Christmas.


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