Virgin Atlantic pilots set to strike over Christmas period

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Some Virgin Atlantic pilots are set to strike from 22 December to Christmas Day in a dispute over union recognition, the Professional Pilots Union (PPU) has said.

The union represents about a third of pilots at the carrier, and said it was excluded from talks over proposed changes to pilot benefits and it is the first of a series of one to four-day strikes it wants to hold until the dispute is resolved.

The PPU said 72 per cent of its Virgin Atlantic members turned out for a ballot, and 71.5 per cent of those who voted backed strike action. Strikes are also planned for 30 December to 2 January and 4 January to 7 January.

PPU spokesman Steve Johnson, a former Virgin pilot, said the union had conducted a work-to-rule action for two years to secure recognition by Virgin.

He added it was the “last straw” when the union was left out of negotiations after Virgin Atlantic “consistently refused to recognise the PPU as a legitimate and independent union”.

Virgin Atlantic said a “small number” of its pilots had voted for industrial action and its priority was to ensure all pasengers could continue their journeys as planned this Christmas.