Good News: Virgin Atlantic Pilot Strike Blocked By High Court

A massive Virgin pilot strike planned to take place on Saturday has been paused by the British high court.

This comes as a relief to holidaymakers, as many people jet off during the Christmas period.

virgin Srikes
Virgin Boeing 747

Why are the pilots striking?

Around a third of all Virgin pilots are represented by the Professional Pilots Union (PPU). This union looks after their benefits, working conditions and more.

Virgin is currently reviewing their pilot benefit packages and decided to exclude the PPU from the discussion. This naturally made them very nervous and they (PPU) demanded that they be part of the talks. The main reason that they were not invited initially was that Virgin does not recognize them as the pilots representation. As part of their demands, they have been threatening to ask their members to strike.

“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,” a PPU representative said.

They initially planned to strike from Saturday, December 22nd, right through to Christmas.

Why did the court block the strike?

Naturally, striking during the busiest time of the year for the airline is bad news, and Virgin wanted to prevent there being as much impact as possible.

Virgin argued in court that the strike was not planned, that the union had not mentioned the dates, how many members would be striking nor given them enough time to plan around it. Additionally, the union had also failed to mention what rank of staff would be striking.

“The categories of pilots involved in the action were particularly important as a plane could not fly unless there was a captain on board, and would “assist Virgin to prepare to deal with the disruption caused by the industrial action”. – John Cavanagh QC, Airline’s Barrister

Virgin Atlantic B787-9 Business Class

The courts granted the injunction, citing that without the union informing exactly who would be going on strike, there was not enough time for Virgin to prepare and thus would cause too much disruption.

It is unknown at this time if the union will strike again soon or be able to negotiate a deal with Virgin.

irgin Atlantic Airbus A350-1000
Virgin Atlantic Airbus A350-1000

What do you think? Is Virgin doing right by passengers or pilots?