Now Virgin Atlantic pilots ‘threaten Christmas strike chaos for thousands of passengers’ as row over pay and benefits escalates
- Pilots represented by Professional Pilots Union (PPU) are in dispute with Virgin
- Follows similar action last year that was stopped when strike was ruled unlawful
- Pilots claim their expenses and benefits have been slashed by airline bosses
Virgin Atlantic could face a pilots strike over the busy Christmas period in a row over pay and benefits – causing chaos for thousands of passengers.
Pilots represented by the Professional Pilots Union (PPU) are in dispute with the airline, owned by Sir Richard Branson, and sent postal votes to members yesterday, as reported by The Sun.
It follows a similar action at the same time last year that was stopped after a judge ruled the proposed strike action was unlawful and granted the airline an injunction.
Virgin pilots, who earn around £150,000 a year, are unhappy with their expenses and benefits, which they claim the airline has slashed.
Virgin pilots, who earn around £150,000 a year, are unhappy about with their expenses and benefits, which they claim the airline has slashed
The dispute was sparked last year after Virgin informed pilots of changes to the terms and conditions in their contracts.
According to the Financial Times, these included capping an income protection scheme at five years, cancelling a dependents’ pension scheme, and reducing corporate pension contributions from 15 per cent to 10 per cent.
But the PPU reportedly branded the proposals as a ‘cost-cutting exercise’ and voted for industrial action, which was later deemed unlawful.
A source, told the newspaper: ‘Despite the drama of last year nothing has changed. Virgin have been accused of kicking the can down the road and are at a stalemate with the union.
‘This time pilots reckon no amount of litigation can stop them from downing tools over Christmas.’
The situation is further exacerbated by Virgin not officially recognising the PPU.
This is despite the union’s claim on their website saying they are the ‘largest union representing pilots within Virgin Atlantic Airways.’
Virgin Atlantic told The Sun: ‘We value our pilot workforce enormously and continue to have constructive dialogue with our recognised union, Balpa.’
The PPU said: ‘We hope genuine progress can be made.’