Virgin Atlantic pilots' strike fears lifted after talks

Virgin Atlantic pilots' strike fears lifted after talks

A threat of industrial action short of a strike by pilots at Virgin Atlantic has been lifted following a series of talks.

The Professional Pilots Union, which the airline says represents 59% of its pilots, had threatened action ahead of the August bank holiday in a dispute over union recognition.

The PPU warned at the start of the month that a ballot of members would be called to approve a possible work to rule or refusal to work overtime.

However, the ballot was withdrawn following meetings between Virgin Atlantic and the PPU facilitated by the conciliation service ACAS.

The airline provided a written commitment to a swift re-opening of negotiations for a sole voluntary recognition agreement, according to the PPU.

Virgin Atlantic also committed to not seeking a joint bargaining agreement between the PPU and the current incumbent union, BALPA, and said it will also not allow current pay talks to hinder the start of negotiations.

The PPU says it would become the sole union representing pilots at Virgin Atlantic - making it the first recognised airline pilots union to rival BALPA - should negotiations progress smoothly and a sole voluntary recognition agreement be achieved.

A PPU spokesman said: “The PPU welcomes the commitment of Virgin Atlantic to recognising the PPU, and has withdrawn the ballot on this basis, and in good faith.

“We look forward to beginning negotiations and to achieving democratic recognition for our members, who between them, make up the vast majority of the Virgin Atlantic pilot workforce.”

Virgin Atlantic said: “We have been informed that the PPU has withdrawn its ballot for action short of a strike.

“We can confirm that there won't be any disruption to our flying programme and that we continue to operate business as usual.”

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