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Pilots Demand to Meet With Virgin Atlantic Over Holidays

August 23, 2010 By: Jena Tesse Fox

The British Airline Pilots' Association (BALPA) announced today that it has asked to meet the management of Virgin Atlantic on Tuesday for "last ditch" talks to avoid confrontation between the airline and its pilots.

The dispute, the Association says, is over the way the company is denying pilots a minimum number of rostered days off, which it claims are allowed for in an agreement the pilots have with the airline. These 120 rostered days off per year are the equivalent of an office worker's weekends and holidays, but without the same predictability, it claims.

Jim McAuslan, general secretary of BALPA, said: "BALPA always does what it can to assist airlines through downturns, as many airlines will testify, and we did this with Virgin during these past difficult years. To now find that the company is breaching an agreement and denying many pilots their entitlement to the equivalent of a weekend off is a real slap in the face and one which we cannot accept. We call on the company to pick up our offer of talks and to find a way through."

The airline responded with a statement of its own: "We have not had any notification of a ballot.  We have a routine, monthly meeting with our pilots on this coming Tuesday and we will be discussing any issues that arise, in that forum."

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