Complete rumour at the moment but apparently there is considerable unrest within the vs crew about working conditions at the moment...
Pilots at Virgin Atlantic are apparently about to be balloted on Industrial action. The dispute which has rumbled on quietly for some months is finally coming to a head.
BALPA (the Pilots union) claims that Virgin Atlantic management are violating their industrial agreement by reducing the annual entitlement of "Rostered Days Off" if they go sick or take leave? Currently Virgin Pilots are entitled to 120 rostered days off + annual leave. BALPA contends the 120 Rostered days off are the Pilots weekends. So the frequently asked question is; do Mon-Fri/office staff have their Saturdays and Sundays taken away from them if they go sick or take leave during the working week? No, of course they don't. So why do Virgin Atlantic think it is right to do this to their Pilots. Particularly if it is clearly against the rules of their industrial agreement? Perhaps Virgin believe that at the moment the unions are weak and an easy target in their efforts to reduce costs.
This dispute is apparently just one of a string of issues that Virgin Atlantic Pilots have with their management. The Pilots assert that over the last 2 years they have "bent over backwards" to help the company through some of the toughest times the airline industry has ever faced. They have sacrificed pay and overtime to reduce redundancies. Some Pilots have voluntarily reduced their hours and some have been forced to take sabbaticals. But it is widely known that Virgin Atlantic management have a history of taking advantage of union concessions. It now seems that this latest dispute will prove to be "The straw that broke the Camels back". The Pilots are fed up with the current style of "Management by imposition", some believe there is a clear and present ambition to break the union.
Evidence of a far reaching and very well planned retaliation campaign by BALPA is now starting to come to the surface. Stickers with the slogan "Hands Off our Days Off" have been appearing far and wide around the Virgin network. Numerous CD's of video presentations are in circulation. And a flurry of BALPA news letters have been dropping through letter boxes. Support has evidently been easy to gather as many have become disillutioned with a few of their management figures and it now seems that the Pilots are about to deliver the ultimate industrial message.
Both sides have so far been keen to keep the dispute under wraps as all are conscious of how a dispute could hinder the recovery from the effects of recession, but alas all the talking seems to have failed and it looks set to go to a ballot for industrial action. And there is little doubt as to the result.