VIRGIN Atlantic pilots are voting whether to strike at Christmas — risking chaos for thousands of travellers.
Cockpit staff represented by the Professional Pilots Union are rowing with Sir Richard Branson’s airline over pay and allowances.
Union chiefs sent postal votes to members yesterday. It follows a similar bid last year, which was only stopped after bosses got a High Court injunction.
That strike attempt was deemed unlawful because the union failed to properly notify Virgin of the number and category of employees being balloted.
Virgin pilots are among the industry’s best paid, with some salaries exceeding £150,000.
But they are unhappy with expenses and flight allowances, which they say Virgin has slashed.
An insider said: “Despite the drama of last year nothing has changed. Virgin have been accused of kicking the can down the road and are at a stalemate with the union.
“This time pilots reckon no amount of litigation can stop them from downing tools over Christmas.”
Part of the row stems from the fact Virgin does not officially recognise the PPU.
Around a third of the airline’s 1,000 pilots are members. Instead, Virgin chiefs recognise the British Airline Pilots Association. Talks have been scheduled for Friday in a last-ditch bid to avert strike action.
But Virgin sources insist passengers will not be disrupted by pilots striking and say contingencies will be made to ensure flights go ahead.
Virgin Atlantic said: “We value our pilot workforce enormously and continue to have constructive dialogue with our recognised union, Balpa.”
The PPU said: “We hope genuine progress can be made.”