Strikes would leave “indelible” scar on Virgin Atlantic brand

Sir Richard Branson has warned that a strike by Virgin Atlantic pilots would leave an “indelible” scar on the airline’s brand reputation.

Pilots’ union Balpa is still in talks with the carrier but says that dates for action could be announced tomorrow (27 June) if no deal in the dispute over pay is struck.

The union wants more than the 4% pay rise offered by Virgin.

Sir Richard has written a letter to pilots saying he is “extremely sad” about the possibility of strikes. He adds that he would be happy to meet them for private talks.

Sir Richard says: “Unless Balpa withdraws its threat very soon, it will leave an indelible scar on the company, impact customers’ trust in us and damage the unique and friendly culture at Virgin Atlantic.”

He adds: “I was obviously extremely sad to see threats of strike action in the press as these negative comments will have already damaged the reputation of our airline and the trust our customers place in us – which we rely on so heavily. They have also played into the hands of our larger rivals.”

News of possible strike action at Virgin follows last week’s settlement of the long-running dispute over travel concessions between rival BA and the Unite union.

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