Virgin Atlantic pilots plan Christmas strike

Passengers travelling with Virgin Atlantic this Christmas could face disruption as pilots with the airline voted to strike in a dispute over union recognition.

The Professional Pilots Union (PPU), which counts about a third of the pilots as members, said it balloted members for action after it was kept out of talks over changes to pilot benefits.

The union said 72 percent if its Virgin Atlantic members voted on the action, with 71.5% of those supporting the proposed strike action.

The first strike is from December 22 to 25, with further outages planned for December 30 to January 2 and from January 4 to January 7 inclusive.

The UK carrier, which operates return flights from London Heathrow to Dubai, said it did not expect the action to impact its flight schedule.

“A small number of our pilots have voted for industrial action,” the company said in a statement.

“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.”

PPU spokesman Steve Johnson said, “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.”

In June this year, the airline announced plans to scrap its Dubai-London Heathrow from March 31 next year, after a review that concluded the flights were no longer economically viable due to a combination of factors.

Virgin Holidays will continue to provide holiday packages to Dubai.

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