The Professional Pilots Union (PPU) have confirmed that the flights of Virgin Atlantic would be experiencing some strikes during the days that are leading up to Christmas as some of the pilots of the company opted to conduct industrial action.
The first strike is planned to take place between the 22nd to the 25th of December. The union that represents around a third of the pilots of Virgin Atlantic claims that it was omitted from discussions regarding changes to the benefits received by the pilots.
Steve Johnson, the spokesperson of the PPU, stated: “We hope that Virgin acknowledge the mandate our members have given us, and help avoid strike action by recognising the PPU and halt the benefits review that is so damaging to our members long-term security.”
He added: “Our door is – and has always been – open to Virgin to take the necessary steps to prevent any disruption for Christmas travellers.”
Mote strikes are planned leading to the new year, for the 30th of December to the 2nd of January and the 4th of January to the 7 of January inclusive.
The PPU disclosed that 72 percent of its members from the Virgin Atlantic turned out for a ballot and from those, 71.5 percent supported industrial action.
The days leading to Christmas is considered as a busy time of the year for the airline, which runs out of London Gatwick, London Heathrow, Glasgow, Belfast, and Manchester with flights to destinations in Asia, North America, Africa, and much more.
Virgin claims that there will be no changes to the schedules. In a statement, it insisted that it there would only be a small number of pilots that would be participating in the strikes.
The company’s statement disclosed: “Our absolute priority is to ensure that all of our customers can continue their journeys as planned this Christmas, and we’re working hard to protect all of their trips.”
The news of the strikes will be unwelcomed to customers who are planning to fly with the airlines over the holiday. It also comes on the back of an announcement from the RMT that there would also be strike action on South Western Railway just before Christmas.
The advice of Which, a consumer group, for the customers is to check with Virgin Atlantic prior to flying and remember to check their rights once there are any issues.
Rory Boland, the travel editor of Which, stated: “This is deeply worrying for families and people desperate to see loved ones over the Christmas period, especially with the strike action potentially starting on what will be one of the busiest travel days of the year.”
He added: “Our advice to anyone planning a trip over the Christmas break is not to panic but check with Virgin Atlantic before you travel. While we hope Virgin can sort this out if your journey is affected remember that you do have rights.”