Union urges Branson to intervene in strike talks

Union urges Branson to intervene in strike talks

Strike dates for Virgin Atlantic pilots could be announced this week unless a dispute over pay is resolved, union leaders have warned.

Members of the British Airline Pilots Association (BALPA) have voted by 97% to stage walkouts in protest at a 4% pay rise following a number of pay freezes.

BALPA must give a week’s notice of industrial action and any strike has to start within four weeks of the ballot result – July 19. The union's leaders have urged the airline’s president and founder Sir Richard Branson to become personally involved in trying to break the deadlock.

The union has not yet set any strike dates in the hope that Sir Richard will intervene and a solution can be found. General secretary Jim McAuslan, announcing the outcome of the majority vote by pilots to strike last week, said: “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.”

He added: “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.” Virgin Atlantic said contingency plans are in place to minimise the impact of a strike on consumers.

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