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Virgin Atlantic crew to strike in new year

Cabin crew at Virgin Atlantic have voted for two 48-hour strikes in the New Year forcing the airline to cancel 12 flights from Heathrow. The walk-outs are planned for January 9 and 16 in a dispute over pay.

*On January 9 one outbound flight to New York (JFK), one return flight to Chicago and a return flight to Boston will be cancelled.

*On January 10 one return flight to New York (JFK), one return flight to Chicago and a return flight to Boston will be cancelled.

*On January 16 one outbound flight to New York (JFK), one return flight to Chicago and a return flight to Nairobi will be cancelled.

*On January 17 one return flight to New York, one return flight to Chicago and one return flight to Nairobi will be cancelled.

*As a result of the action one New York inbound flight will be cancelled on both January 11 and 18.

Passengers booked on any flights which are cancelled due to the industrial action are permitted to cancel their bookings and receive a full refund, regardless of any ticket restrictions, the airline said.

Chief executive Steve Ridgway said: “Our main priority now is to ensure that we can get as many of our passengers to their destinations as possible.

“We do not want to let them down so we have put in place thorough contingency plans which will enable us to run nine out of ten flights on each of the days affected by the action.

“I would like to apologise to our passengers whose travel plans may be disrupted and reassure those who are travelling with us that our number one priority is to get them to their destination.”

Two-thirds of the airline’s 3,100 workers voted in a strike ballot held by the union Unite. Support for industrial action was backed by 1,497 to 605, a majority of 70%.

The union said the vote for the first strike in the airline’s history was not taken lightly.

“They are a world-class cabin crew who’ve been undervalued for too long,” the union’s national officer Brian Boyd said.

But Ridgway reportedly said that “there comes a time when good management has to draw a line in the sand in the interests of all employees. There will be no 11th hour change to our pay offer”.

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