Virgin Atlantic pilots will go on strike from 22 December to Christmas Day, it has been announced.
The industrial action comes after a dispute over union recognition, the Professional Pilots Union (PPU) – which represents around a third of pilots at the airline – has said.
According to the union, its members voted by a ratio of more than 7:1 in favour of industrial action.
PPU spokesman Steve Johnson has said the union have conducted a work-to-rule action for two years to secure recognition by Virgin, but it has been forced to take action after being “shut out” of negotiations.
“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 said. “Our door is – and has always been – open to Virgin to take the necessary steps to prevent any disruption for Christmas travellers.”
Adding that “this is such an easy fix for the company”, Johnson said: “By including all unions in negotiations – not just one selected by the company – it can then live up to its claimed inclusiveness and we can get round the table together to negotiate a sustainable outcome for our members.
“The pilot workforce is a professional and committed group that sees striking as anathema, but clearly feel bullied into this action by a company that chooses to ignore them.”
Consumer rights publication Which? has issued advice for people due to travel with Virgin Atlantic when the strikes are taking place.
Their travel editor, Rory Boland, said: “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.”