Virgin Atlantic pilots within the Professional Pilots Union will not being carrying out strike action this Christmas, after the carrier was granted a High Court injunction against the industrial action.
Earlier this month the PPU said it had been forced to take a vote on strike action after being shut out of vital negotiations concerning its 400+ members.
Virgin Atlantic does not recognise the PPU – which represents around 30 per cent of the carrier’s pilots – dealing instead with the British Airline Pilots’ Association.
Over 70 per cent of those pilots who had taken part in the vote were in favour of industrial action, with walkouts having been planned for December 22-25, December 30 – January 2, and January 4-7 inclusive.
But last night the organization posted the following message on its Twitter page:
The High Court has this evening ruled against PPU members taking industrial action. It upheld one of the three technical elements of VA’s injunction submission, but this means it is successful overall. This means that the planned strike action for this weekend is cancelled.
— The PPU (professional pilots' union) (@ThePPU_) December 20, 2018
In a subsequent tweet the PPU added:
Further to previous post cancelling strikes date 22nd – 25th December, please now note all strike dates are cancelled Virgin Atlantic @Virgin Holidays
— The PPU (professional pilots' union) (@ThePPU_) December 21, 2018
In a statement the PPU said:
“Naturally we are disappointed in the outcome of today’s hearing where the injunction application was partially upheld on a ballot technicality. We will study the judgement detail and prepare our next move. The strike action planned to commence on December 22 must be postponed meantime.
“Given that only one of the three elements challenged by VA were upheld it’s rather a pyrrhic victory for the airline as they still have hundreds of angry and disgruntled pilots in their workforce.
“It has been revealing to compare the public announcements from VA about the effects of our strike action with the reality placed before the judge today. For many reading these statements it will be difficult to wholly rely on future comments made by VA management, given the chasm between their public statements and the private reality laid bare before the court.
“Despite this setback we hope that a tangible agreement can be achieved, one that recognises the PPU as an independent union, a union that represents hundreds of VA pilots. The only impediment to the success of this meeting will be VA’s reluctance to reach such an agreement.
“A further statement from the PPU will be issued tomorrow.”
Virgin Atlantic released the following statement in response to the news:
“We’re pleased that the High Court has granted an injunction. We took the decision to go to court reluctantly, but we felt it necessary to ensure that our customers will be able to travel over the festive period as planned.
“With the significant disruption to flights already caused by yesterday’s closure of Gatwick Airport, our utmost priority is now getting our customers to their destinations over the festive period.
“We’d like to take this opportunity to thank the overwhelming majority of our pilots who have offered to take on extra work this Christmas, to make sure our flights are protected.
“We continue to encourage anyone due to travel with us this week to check the details of their flight at www.virginatlantic.com and ensure their contact details are added to their booking.”