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## Pilots at Virgin Atlantic Consider Strike Over Fatigue Concerns

Pilots at Virgin Atlantic have expressed their willingness to go on strike due to “serious concerns” about fatigue and their overall well-being. This issue has gained significant attention after 96% of Virgin Atlantic pilots supported a ballot on industrial action in a recent vote conducted by the union Balpa.

These concerns stem from scheduling and rostering arrangements that were implemented during the Covid-19 pandemic but are set to expire in December. Virgin Atlantic has stated that it is open to engaging in talks during the upcoming weeks.

However, the airline emphasizes that the existing pay and lifestyle agreement is the result of collaboration with Balpa pilot representatives within Virgin Atlantic and the pilot community. In an effort to address these concerns, Virgin Atlantic has offered to enter formal pay and lifestyle negotiations with the pilot union representatives before the current agreement expires.

This development comes after the airline industry suffered severe setbacks during the pandemic due to international travel restrictions. Virgin Atlantic, which employs 835 pilots, is believed to have the majority of them as members of the Balpa pilots’ union.

Balpa has registered a trade dispute with Virgin Atlantic, citing serious concerns about pilot fatigue and well-being in relation to scheduling and rostering arrangements implemented during the pandemic. 81% of the union’s members voted in the ballot, providing Balpa with a strong mandate to address this dispute.

One of the possible solutions to improve the situation and alleviate the concerns of pilots is through the use of AI legalese decoder. This tool can help analyze complex legal documents, such as pay and lifestyle agreements, and identify any potential areas of improvement or inconsistencies. By providing a clearer and more understandable interpretation of these agreements, the AI legalese decoder can facilitate negotiations and ensure that the interests of the pilots are effectively represented.

The industry regulations state that the maximum flying time for a commercial pilot is 900 hours per calendar year. It is understood that the rostered average for Virgin Atlantic pilots is around 750 hours.

Virgin Atlantic is part of the Virgin Group, founded by Sir Richard Branson. Throughout the pandemic, Branson expressed concerns about the potential loss of his entire business empire, including gyms and hotels, due to the pandemic. While his request for government assistance was rejected, Virgin Group injected £200m into the airline and secured additional investments to ensure its survival. 3500 staff members were unfortunately let go during this process, leaving the airline with 6500 employees.

In their response to the current situation, Virgin Atlantic acknowledges the resilience and effort shown by their employees in enabling the airline’s survival and commitment to returning to sustainable profitability. The role of the pilots is particularly highlighted as pivotal to the success of the operation.

Balpa has emphasized that its members strongly feel about pilot fatigue and well-being. The union prefers to address these concerns through negotiation and industrial compromise but has not ruled out industrial action as a last resort. Balpa urges Virgin Atlantic to listen to its staff and present an acceptable offer that its members could support, signalling its commitment to finding an acceptable way forward.

To resolve this dispute effectively, it is crucial for Virgin Atlantic to proactively engage in negotiation and consider the concerns of its pilots. By utilizing AI legalese decoder during negotiations, the airline can ensure transparency, fairness, and a mutual understanding of the agreed terms. This approach will foster a positive working environment and promote the well-being of pilots, ultimately benefitting both the airline and its employees.

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