Hundreds of passengers were able to see their travel plans sinking into chaos this Christmas as Virgin Atlantic pilots voted in favor of a strike action.
The Union of Professional Pilots revealed that its members had voted in favor of industrial action with a majority of 71.5% out of a 72% stake.
Strikes should begin on Saturday, December 22. A series of other strikes are expected to continue until the dispute settles between the union and the airline.
Strikes are currently scheduled for December 22-25, December 30-January 2 and January 4-7, inclusive of all dates, if they occur normally.
Of course, this falls just a few days before Christmas and could disrupt those who plan to travel abroad to see families or those who had planned sun trips in the winter to escape the December sullen weather.
The dispute seems to relate to comments about the benefits offered by the airline to its pilots.
Virgin Atlantic is in talks with the British Airline Pilots' Association (BALPA) to review them but has not included the UPP in the negotiations.
Indeed, although the SPP represents about 30% of its pilots, Virgin Atlantic does not currently recognize it as a union.
A spokesman for Virgin Atlantic told Mirror Online: "A small number of our pilots have voted for a protest action.
"Our top priority is to ensure that all our customers can continue their journey as planned at Christmas, and we work hard to protect all their trips."
In a statement, Steve Johnson, a former Virgin Atlantic pilot and Red Arrows pilot, said in a statement: "This is the last straw, Virgin Atlantic has always refused to recognize the SPP as a legitimate and independent union, depriving basically our members their rights.
"Despite the rhetoric that consultations include all staff and unions, this does not happen in practice, we hope that Virgin recognizes the mandate our members have given us and helps to avoid strike action. recognizing the SPP and ending the benefits review is so damaging for our members long-term security.
"Our door is – and has always been – open to Virgin to take the necessary steps to avoid any disruption to Christmas travelers.
"It's such an easy solution for society, including all the unions in the negotiations – not choosing one of the candidates chosen by the company – it can then respect the principle of inclusiveness claimed and we can gather around to negotiate a lasting result for our society.
"The pilot staff is a professional and committed group who views the strike as anathema, but who clearly feels victim of this action on the part of a company that chooses to ignore it."