Pilots lift Virgin Atlantic strike threat

Pilots lift Virgin Atlantic strike threat

Pilots at Virgin Atlantic have withdrawn a threat to strike pending a ballot on a fresh pay offer from the airline.

The British Airline Pilots Association (Balpa) declined to give details of the new offer in advance of informing its members.

But Balpa general secretary Jim McAuslan said: “Pilots have never wished to inconvenience the travelling public, especially those looking forward to summer holidays.

“We have therefore lifted the threat of strike action. Virgin Atlantic pilots will continue flying passengers to their destinations.”

The new offer follows more than a week of talks and comes after Balpa members voted to strike by a 97% majority.

It is unclear whether Virgin has increased the money on offer after Balpa rejected a pay deal worth 4% this year and 3% in each of the following two years.

However, the union will require a fresh strike ballot before it can call any action if its members reject this latest offer, since any strike under the current mandate would have to be announced by July 12.

A Virgin Atlantic spokesman insisted earlier this week: “There is no extra money.” Balpa has previously suggested that only a substantially improved pay offer would head off anger among members following a three-year pay freeze.

Balpa represents about 640 of Virgin Atlantic’s 750 pilots.

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