Hong Kong-based Virgin Atlantic cabin crew will stage a wildcat strike starting tomorrow, in a bid to stave off job losses announced by the British airline last month.
Travellers flying Virgin Atlantic this Christmas are being warned the London flight may not take-off as a result of the industrial action which will start on December 21st until January 1st.
Action is being taken after the company sacked 50 older cabin crew based in Hong Kong in a cost-cutting drive.
The secretary-general of the Hong Kong Cabin Crew Federation, Carol Ng Man-yee, told the South China Morning Post the airline has refused to meet with workers or the union to discuss the job losses. “This has forced workers into no other option,” she said.
Flight attendants due to be made redundant feel angry at the airline not providing alternative options for the affected staff.
Virgin Atlantic Hong Kong Cabin Crew Union said in a letter: “We feel discriminated, unfairly treated and disappointed by the actions of Virgin Atlantic Airways. We feel the loyalty and trust that we have built with the company throughout the years has been lost. We are still hoping for an amicable solution in resolving this matter in a peaceful and harmonious manner.”
The strike will affect the sole London-bound Virgin Atlantic flight VS207. Each flight is staffed by six cabin crew from London and Hong Kong.
Normally it needs a minimum of nine flight attendants. It is unclear if replacements are available at short notice from another location.
Passenger Rik Glauert, due to fly with the airline next Tuesday, said: “I feel a little bit shocked. Angry and a bit stressed out as time at Christmas is so precious. And I didn’t know there was a potential for strike action.”
“Not getting people home for Christmas is a PR disaster.”
But the airline has made public comments to reassure passengers their flights are not “expected” to be affected.
“We are aware of reports of potential strike action by our Hong Kong based cabin crew and we would like to reassure our customers that we do not expect this to impact our flights,” Sarah Coggins, a Virgin Atlantic spokeswoman, said.
“Our priority is to ensure that our customer’s travel plans are not affected during the holiday period and we will therefore have additional crew available to fly on the route between London and Hong Kong,” she said.