Virgin Atlantic agrees to meet pilots threatening Christmas strikes
Published on Thursday, October 3, 2019
Virgin Atlantic is holding a meeting with the Professional Pilots Union (PPU) on Friday to try to prevent strike that could hit Christmas flights.
The talks were allegedly arranged after the PPU threatened to balot its members on strike action. It has already written to pilots mooting the idea of walkouts over the festive season, say reports.
The PPU tried to arrange a strike a year ago, but a proposed three-day walkout on December 22 was blocked by the High Court, which granted Virgin an injunction on December 20.
The PPU is pushing for recognition by the airline’s management, which, it says, is freezing it out of talks. Virgin recognises the British Airline Pilots Association, but hasn’t, until now, negotiated with the PPU.
However, writing to its members proposing a ballot on industrial action, the PPU told The Sun it had been called to talks with Virgin.
A representative from the PPU said: “Despite the PPU representing a significant number of Virgin Atlantic pilots, the airline refuses to recognise it in any negotiations over its member’s pay and conditions.
“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.”
A Virgin spokesperson said: “Currently we have no active industrial dispute with our pilots. We’re aware of reports that the PPU, which represents a minority of our pilot workforce, may be considering a ballot for industrial action over union recognition.
“We value our pilot workforce enormously and have an ongoing and constructive relationship with our recognised union, BALPA.
“We’ve also been encouraged by the discussions that~started earlier this year between BALPA and the PPU, in an attempt~to identify a framework for working together. We would like to reassure customers that all Virgin Atlantic flights continue to operate as normal.”