Travel chaos looms as Virgin Atlantic pilots vote to strike

| June 21, 2011 | 1 Comment

Holidaymakers look set to have their summer travel plans disrupted after it emerged today that Virgin Atlantic pilots have voted for industrial action – the first time in the airline’s 32-year history.

According to the British Airline Pilots Association (Balpa) union, 97% of its members voted for strike action after pay talks with the company collapsed.

Balpa said that Virgin Altantic’s pilots had been hit with a pay freeze since 2008 and have now been offered a 4% rise for 2011, followed by 3% for 2012 and 2013.

Jim McAuslan, Balpa general secretary, said the pilots are “hugely disappointed by the company’s approach” and do not want to strike.

The news of industrial action comes just a month after British Airways (BA) ended its long-running dispute with its cabin crew over cost-cutting measures.

Cabin crew were involved in a bitter row with the airline for more than 18 months over cost-cutting measures, which included a pay freeze, a switch to part-time working for thousands of staff, as well as removing travel perks.

The 22 days of strike action caused travel chaos for hundreds of thousands of passengers and cost the airline millions of pounds.

Meanwhile, strike dates for Virgin Atlantic are set to be announced tomorrow. The airline sspecialises in long-haul destinations such as the US, Africa and the Far East, carrying more than 100,000 passengers each week.

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  1. Peedoff says:

    Virgin don’t want to pay the going rate for long haul pilots. Do you think if they told BP they don’t want to pay the going rate for fuel that they’d be flying any aircraft?

    As for the comments about overpaid pilots then let them employ average British workers to fly their planes. Uh oh - There’s a flaw in that argument too.

    Pay the pilots the going rate for their skills and you won’t have any disruption. If they can find £47 million to pay the fines and costs of their CEO’s price fixing debacle then they can find the few million extra to fund the difference between the sub-inflation offer and the going rate the pilots expect after their salary sacrifices over the last three years.

    Not too much to expect but thanks to an HR head who has promised the board that she can break the last unionized group within Virgin we now have the potential for a strike. Aside from the disingenuous utterings from Ridgeway and SRB about everyone else accepting the company offer, they didn’t mention that the “offer” was imposed, not accepted as all the other workgroups are not as united and organized as are the pilots.

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