Just as British holiday makers were breathing a sigh of relief over the deal that saw British Airways and its disgruntled cabin staff come to an agreement, Virgin Atlantic are in the middle of tough negotiations to avert a pilot strike. Up to 750 pilots could strike this summer, a strike that is expected to cause mass disruption to British holiday makers travelling to the Caribbean, Far-East and U.S. Routes to New York, California, and Miami will all be affected, causing travel chaos for families taking their children to Disneyworld on both the east and west coast of America.
Virgin Atlantic pilots earn up to £110,000 a year and are angry about a four per cent pay offer made to them by Sir Richard Branson's airline following three years of pay freezes. The BALPA, the union who represent the pilots say that because U.K inflation figures are set to stay around the 5 per cent mark for the next couple of years, there members would effectively be signing up to years of pay cuts.
BALPA have yet to announce dates but a first walkout is expected in July with more to follow over the summer. There pilots have said they do not want to strike but their resolve is clear with 97 per cent voting yes in the ballot with a turnout of 94 per cent.
It would be the first strike in the company's 27 year history and it could define Virgin Atlantic for the next decade. Many observers believe that with one strike will come more and more from employee's right across the company. No sooner has the British Airways cabin crew dispute finished, a new Virgin strike takes its place. Money will be lost on all sides but once again it will be the British holiday maker who is disrupted.