Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 24 April 2014

Virgin pilots' strike threat lifted

The threat of a strike by pilots at Virgin Atlantic Airways has been lifted after union Balpa secured an offer to put to members

The threat of a damaging strike by pilots at Virgin Atlantic Airways has been lifted.

Pilots union Balpa said it had "now secured an offer" from the airline and this would be put to members in a ballot.

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 proudly continue their role of flying passengers safely to their destinations."

The lifting of the strike threat is excellent news for the airline and also for holidaymakers who will now be able to go ahead with their summer breaks without fear of industrial action.

Balpa's Virgin members had voted overwhelmingly for industrial action in a dispute over a 4% pay offer.

Balpa had urged Virgin boss Sir Richard Branson to get involved in negotiations. Sir Richard declined to do so but offered to talk privately to pilots.

In a letter to the pilots, Sir Richard warned that unless Balpa withdrew its threat of a strike it would leave an "indelible scar" on the airline, "impact customers' trust in us and damage the unique and friendly culture at Virgin Atlantic".

Virgin Atlantic said: "We can confirm that negotiations are now concluded and Balpa will present a pay offer to its members over the coming weeks.

"The threat of strike action has now been removed and our flying schedule remains completely unaffected."

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