Sir Richard Branson’s strike worries

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A proposed strike by pilots at Virgin Atlantic Airways would leave “an indelible scar on the company”, said the carrier’s founder and President Sir Richard Branson.  In a open letter to the pilots, Sir Richard wrote that he was “extremely sad” about their vote in favour of strike action, and added that that he was prepared to meet them for private talks.

After a pay freeze that has lasted several years, the British Airline Pilot’s Association union (BALPA) says that a recent 4% pay offer is unsatisfactory.  The union is now due to announce dates for industrial action, in a dispute over pay and conditions.

The airline has defended its offer by stating that the figure of 4% is twice the national average, adding that it is combined with a share of company profits, which it describes as: “industry leading despite a very challenging economic backdrop.”

Sir Richard has asked Balpa to enter into fresh talks with the airline’s management team after stating: “I have looked at the details of your offer and believe it is fair.

“From the company’s point of view, possibly a little too fair,” adding that unless the threat of strike action is withdrawn, “it will leave an indelible scar on the company, impact customers’ trust in us and damage the unique and friendly culture at Virgin Atlantic.”

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