The Professional Pilots Union (PPU), which represents around 30 per cent of Virgin Atlantic’s pilots, has warned it will stage further strikes in 2019 with ‘short notice’.

The union has already announced strikes over the busy Christmas period from 22-25 December, then from 30 December-2 January and 4-7 January.

Virgin Atlantic does not recognise the PPU and instead negotiates pilot employment terms with the British Airline Pilots Association (BALPA). The airline says it does not expect severe disruption to services during the strikes.

Now, the PPU – which is calling on Virgin Atlantic to recognise it as a union – has said it has scheduled further four-day strikes in 2019 but these will only be announced “at short notice, meaning more holiday travel plans and businesses trips are likely to be affected”.

PPU spokesman Steve Johnson commented: “We have not heard from Virgin Atlantic directly, but note from their short statements to the media that they believe there will be no disruption to flights. With a third (304) of VA’s active pilots PPU members not available to fly, that’s difficult to believe.

“I do hope Mr Branson is watching this situation in his airline going from bad to worse. It contrasts with his recruitment slogan, where he says: ‘Treat your staff well and they will look after your customers. It’s as simple as that.’

“Our message to Mr Branson and his CEO Craig Kreeger is that our pilots are certainly not feeling very well treated, and his customers will be the ones suffering as a result.”

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