Virgin Atlantic staff to strike

20-12-2007

Virgin Atlantic staff to strike
Cabin crew staff at Virgin Atlantic have voted to hold two 48-hour strikes in the new year in a row over pay.

The walkouts are scheduled to take place on January 9th/11th and the following Wednesday to Friday on January 16th to January 18th.

According to the Unite union 71 per cent of its members from the airline's cabin crew voted for the industrial action – the first in Virgin Atlantic's history.

It said that workers have felt "undervalued for too long" amid claims that staff at other airlines are paid up to £10,000 more per year.

"Unite is calling on Virgin Atlantic to get back around the negotiating table to get through this impasse and avoid disruption in the new year," said the union's national officer Brian Boyd.

In response Virgin Atlantic said that less than a third of its cabin crew workers had voted for the strike and expressed its 'surprise' at the planned walkouts.

The airline explained it was now looking at contingency plans to ensure passengers got to their destinations during the strikes.

"We would like to reassure passengers that our flying programme is operating as normal at this time, and will continue to do so over the Christmas and new year period," said Steve Ridgway, chief executive of Virgin Atlantic.

"We are disappointed that some of our cabin crew have voted this way but we will do everything we can to get our passengers to their destinations during the threatened industrial action.

"Virgin Atlantic cabin crew put their heart and soul into their work and can be truly proud of what they've achieved. However, there comes a time when good management has to draw a line in the sand in the interests of all employees. There will be no 11th hour change to our pay offer."

The confirmation of the strike comes amid ongoing uncertainty over whether staff at airport authority BAA's seven airports will go ahead with threats to walk out this Christmas.

Flights at Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen and Southampton could be affected by any industrial action.

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