Following a summer of continuous Ryanair strikes, a handful of Virgin Atlantic pilots are now threatening strike action. The worst news? This action is planned for over the Christmas, potentially interrupting a large number of travel plans over the Christmas period. The action will take place from 22nd December until Christmas Day unless a deal is reached with Virgin before then.
When and Why Are Pilots Going On Strike?
The strike action is reportedly being planning by pilots who are members of the Professional Pilots Union. Around a third of Virgin Atlantic pilots are represented by the union. Despite this, however, Virgin Atlantic reportedly refuses to recognize the union. The union said that it wasn’t included in talks relating to a change in pilot benefits. As such, the union is planning several strikes that will last between 1 to 4 days. More strikes are currently planned for 30th December to January Second and the 4th to 7th of January. This means that three weekends in a row will suffer from disruption, including the busy Christmas and New Year’s travel periods.
The pilots are going on strike after 71.5% of voters voted in favour of the action. This was from a 72% turn out of pilots. The pilots are unhappy that Virgin Atlantic has left them out of key benefits negotiations. The PPU‘s spokesman, Steve Johnson, (who was previously a Virgin Pilot himself) told the press: “[Virgin Atlantic has] consistently refused to recognise the PPU as a legitimate and independent union 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 that the union was open to talks with Virgin.
Virgin Atlantic responded by telling passengers not to worry about the strike action planned by a “small number” of pilots. In fact, A statement from the airline read: “Our absolute priority is to ensure that all of our customers can continue their journeys as planned this Christmas, and we’re working hard to protect all of their trips”.
Are you due to fly during the disruption? Let us know in the comments down below!