Virgin pilots vote for strike





Virgin Atlantic pilots have voted by a massive 97% to go on strike in a row over pay, raising the threat of summer walkouts which would cause travel chaos.



The British Airline Pilots Association (Balpa) said there was a 94% turnout in a ballot, called in protest at a 4% pay offer.



The union held back from naming strike dates, but warned that the size of the vote sent a "clear message" to the airline's boss Sir Richard Branson.



General secretary Jim McAuslan said it was the first time Virgin pilots had voted to take industrial action, adding that he was happy to meet Sir Richard any time, anywhere, to try to head off strikes,



"My messages are simple - pilots do not want to strike and are hugely disappointed by the company's approach. There has been no UK pilot strike for 32 years, but there comes a time when even moderate people say 'Enough'.



"Pilots are being driven to strike. With no pay increase since 2008, a below-inflation offer for 2011 and proposals for 2012 and 2013 that will be sub-inflation, this is now a six-year attack on living standards which has not happened in any other UK airline.



"Pilots are prepared to strike. We have absolute resolve to secure a fair settlement. When a group of professional people say 'Enough', someone at the top should sit up and listen. We do not want to inconvenience the public and hope that Sir Richard will use some of his undoubted Virgin flair to settle this.



"Having been at this since last November, time is running out. If damage is to be avoided and passengers not inconvenienced, then Sir Richard needs to act now."



The union said Virgin Atlantic pilots have not had a pay rise since 2008 after agreeing to forgo an increase to help the company, with the expectation of a "fair" hike this year.



Balpa, which represents most of Virgin's 750 pilots, said it decided to ballot its members because it had expected a bigger pay deal this year.









Bob Atkinson, of online comparison service travelsupermarket.com, said: "We are disappointed and frustrated that customers of Virgin Atlantic face the potential of strike action in the coming weeks.



"The last thing that any holidaymaker or business traveller needs is uncertainty over their travel plans and the threat of flight cancellations. Disruption as we head into the busy summer months is bad news for consumers.



"We advise that all passengers booked with the airline or on package holidays using the carrier, ensure the airline and/or their tour operator has the most up to date contact information for them on record. They can then be informed if and when any action takes place.



"We call on both Virgin Atlantic and the union to get back around the table and ensure that hard earned holidays and flights for business travellers are not disrupted."

Arts and Entertainment
Supporting role: at the Supreme Court, Rhodes was accompanied by a famous friend, the actor Benedict Cumberbatch
booksPianist James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to stop the injunction of his memoirs
Arts and Entertainment
Jesuthasan Antonythasan as Dheepan
filmDheepan, film review
Sport
Steven Gerrard scores for Liverpool
sport
News
peopleComedian star of Ed Sullivan Show was mother to Ben Stiller
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Guru Careers: Events Coordinator / Junior Events Planner

    £24K + Excellent Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking an Events Coordinator ...

    Royal Yachting Association Cymru Wales: Chief Executive Officer

    Salary 42,000: Royal Yachting Association Cymru Wales: The CEO is responsible ...

    Guru Careers: Marketing Manager / Marketing Communications Manager

    £35-40k (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Marketing Communicati...

    Ashdown Group: Technical IT Manager - North London - Growing business

    £40000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A growing business that has been ope...

    Day In a Page

    Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

    Sun, sex and an anthropological study

    One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
    From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

    Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

    'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
    'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

    Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

    This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
    Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

    Songs from the bell jar

    Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
    How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

    One man's day in high heels

    ...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
    Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

    Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

    Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
    The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

    King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

    The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
    More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

    End of the Aussie brain drain

    More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
    Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

    Can meditation be bad for you?

    Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
    Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

    Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

    Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
    Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

    Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

    Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
    Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

    Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

    Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
    Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

    Join the tequila gold rush

    The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
    12 best statement wallpapers

    12 best statement wallpapers

    Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
    Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

    Paul Scholes column

    Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?