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Virgin Atlantic wins injunction against pilots' Christmas strike

Virgin Atlantic wins injunction against pilots' Christmas strike
FILE PHOTO: A Virgin Atlantic Boeing 747-400 takes off from Manchester Airport, Britain, January 8, 2018. REUTERS/Phil Noble/File Photo -
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Phil Noble(Reuters)
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LONDON (Reuters) - Britain’s Virgin Atlantic said it won a court injunction on Thursday against a union representing some of its pilots going on strike over the Christmas period.

Members of the Professional Pilots Union (PPU), which says it represents around a third of the airline's pilots, were due to stage a series of walkouts in a row over union recognition beginning on Saturday and continuing into the New Year.

The PPU called the strikes against the airline, which is owned by Richard Branson’s Virgin Group and U.S. airline Delta <DAL.N> and whose main business is flying between Britain and the United States, over its exclusion from talks on changes to pilot benefits.

"We're pleased that the High Court has granted an injunction. We took the decision to go to court reluctantly, but we felt it necessary to ensure that our customers will be able to travel over the festive period as planned," Virgin said in a statement.

"We'd like to take this opportunity to thank the overwhelming majority of our pilots who have offered to take on extra work this Christmas to make sure our flights are protected."

Virgin Atlantic did not say on what grounds the court granted the injunction.

The PPU said it was disappointed by the ruling, which it said was partially upheld on a ballot technicality, and will study the judgment before deciding its next move.

"It's rather a pyrrhic victory for the airline as they still have hundreds of angry and disgruntled pilots in their workforce," the union said.

(Reporting by Andrew MacAskill; Editing by Adrian Croft)

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