Virgin Atlantic strikes: Pilot action could cause travel chaos for holidaymakers this Christmas

4 October 2019, 12:26 | Updated: 4 October 2019, 12:29

Virgin Atlantic strike could cause travel chaos
Virgin Atlantic strike could cause travel chaos. Picture: PA Images/Getty Images

Holidaymakers travelling with Virgin Atlantic could face disappointment this Christmas as pilots are currently discussing whether they will go on strike.

According to The Sun, staff represented by the Professional Pilots Union will be voting on industrial action this week after becoming “locked in disputes” with Sir Richard Branson’s airline.

Virgin pilots are thought to be unhappy with their expenses and benefits after claiming they have been slashed by the airline.

Union chiefs sent postal votes to members yesterday which could cause chaos for travellers.

A source told The Sun: "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."

Virgin Atlantic pilots are "locked in disputes" with bosses
Virgin Atlantic pilots are "locked in disputes" with bosses. Picture: PA Images

Virgin has since insisted passengers won’t be disrupted by the potential strikes, telling Express.co.uk: "We would like to reassure customers that all Virgin Atlantic flights continue to operate as normal.

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“To the best of our knowledge, we believe over 60% of our pilot workforce are represented by BALPA; and that less than 20% are represented by the PPU.”

They added: "The dispute is surrounding union recognition, not pay or benefits".

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However, a representative from the PPU responded: "Our issue is not about money, simply the right to be represented by a chosen union. It has a zero cost to the company.

“Within 24 hours of informing the company of our intention to ballot our members on industrial action, we have suddenly been offered last-ditch talks on Friday to avert strike action. We are encouraged by this offer and hope that genuine progress can be made.”

When will the Virgin Atlantic pilot strike take place?

It's unclear whether the strike will go ahead or not, but if the vote is successful, it will take place over the busy Christmas period.

There were plans for similar strikes last Christmas, but these were blocked cancelled after they were ruled to be "unlawful" by a High Court.

This is because the union failed to properly notify Virgin of the number and category of employees being balloted.