Pilots at Virgin Atlantic are to strike from 22 December to Christmas Day in a dispute over union recognition.
The Professional Pilots Union (PPU) said its members voted by a ratio of more than seven to one in favour of industrial action. The PPU, which represents about a third of Virgin’s pilots, has been involved in a long-running dispute over recognition.
Spokesman Steve Johnson, said the union had conducted work-to-rule action for two years to secure recognition by Virgin, and that it had now been forced to take action after being “shut out” of negotiations.
“Virgin Atlantic have consistently refused to recognise the PPU as a legitimate and independent union, essentially disenfranchising our members,” he said. “Despite the rhetoric that consultations are inclusive of all staff and unions, in practice this doesn’t happen.
“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.
“Our door is – and has always been – open to Virgin to take the necessary steps to prevent any disruption for Christmas travellers.
Which? travel editor Rory Boland said: “This is deeply worrying for families and people desperate to see loved ones over the Christmas period, especially with the strike action potentially starting on what will be one of the busiest travel days of the year.
“Our advice to anyone planning a trip over the Christmas break is not to panic but check with Virgin Atlantic before you travel. While we hope Virgin can sort this out, if your journey is affected remember that you do have rights.”
A Virgin Atlantic spokesman said “a small number” of its pilots had voted for industrial action. “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.”