Virgin pilots vote for strike
Tuesday 21 June 2011
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."
The Independent travel offers: Discover a world of inspiring destinations
- 1 UK pirates will get four warning letters a year
- 2 Apple has installed security backdoors on 600m iPhones and iPads, claims security researcher
- 3 Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Pro-Russian rebel ‘admits to shooting down plane’
- 4 Is Gideon Levy the most hated man in Israel or just the most heroic?
- 5 Students offered grants if they tweet pro-Israeli propaganda
Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 crash: 'Nine Britons, 23 Americans and 80 children' feared dead after Boeing passenger jet is 'shot down' near Ukraine-Russia border
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Vladimir Putin is given 'one last chance' to end hostilities in Ukraine
The 'scroungers’ fight back: The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Ukrainian military jet was flying close to passenger plane before it was shot down, says Russian officer
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: victims’ bodies bundled in black bags and loaded onto trains
£30000 - £45000 per annum + Bonus+Benefits+Package: Harrington Starr: VB.NET a...
Unpaid voluntary role: Old Royal Naval College: To assist the Visitor Experien...
£45-£55k OTE £75k : Charter Selection: Major London International Fashion and ...
£17K OTE £30K: Charter Selection: Highly successful and innovative specialist...