Virgin Atlantic faces pilot strike threat

Virgin Atlantic faces the threat of industrial action by pilots in a row over time off.

The British Airline Pilots’ Association has called on the carrier to hold “last ditch” talks tomorrow (Tuesday) to avoid a dispute.

BALPA general secretary Jim McAuslan said Virgin pilots were being denied an agreed entitlement to a minimum number of rostered days off a year.

The dispute centres on the union’s claim that the airline is denying pilots their right to a minimum number of scheduled days off as previously agreed.

The 120 scheduled days off a year are the equivalent of an office worker’s weekends and bank holidays, but without the same predictability.

“BALPA always does what it can to assist airlines through downturns, as many airlines will testify, and we did this with Virgin during these past difficult years,” he said.

“To now find that the company is breaching an agreement and denying many pilots their entitlement to the equivalent of a weekend off is a real slap in the face and one which we cannot accept.”

The airline holds “a regular monthly meeting with our pilots, and the next one is on Tuesday,” a Virgin spokesman said. “We have had no notification of any ballot.”

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