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Virgin Atlantic Cabin Crew Sue Airline for Unfair Dismissal

Over 200 cabin crew members have filed a lawsuit against Virgin Atlantic claiming unfair dismissal based on age.

A Virgin Atlantic A350-1000 (Photo: AirlineGeeks | William Derrickson)

Virgin Atlantic has been taken to court by a group of cabin crew members who were issued redundancy notices. The former cabin crew members claim that the airline used COVID-19 redundancies to target older employees for dismissal.

Dismissal on Grounds of Age

A report by The Guardian states that a London employment tribunal will examine more than 200 cases brought against Virgin Atlantic next month. The former airline employees claim that the airline unfairly made them redundant while retaining younger cabin crew members.

The Guardian reports that one such cabin crew member who was made redundant  was Susan Mcentegart. Mcentegart, aged 53, was employed by Virgin for 23 years. She is part of a group of 51 claimants being represented by a law firm that will take the matter further.

Impact of COVID-19 Restrictions

In March 2020, when COVID-19 lockdowns and travel restrictions were implemented to halt global travel, many airlines grounded their fleets and furloughed staff. Virgin Atlantic cut 3,000 jobs and reduced its workforce by over 40 percent. Cabin crew members who were later made redundant were initially placed in a holding pool, earmarked for potential reemployment once conditions improved and flights resumed.

One of the claimants alleges that the airline retained 350 new cabin crew recruits who were in the holding pool, some of whom had as little as one week’s training. All the while, many experienced cabin managers, aged 45 and over, with considerable years of experience, were made redundant.

Mcentegart told The Guardian: “It seemed the world was closing down and losing jobs was inevitable. But the way they went about it seemed unfair. But I was flabbergasted that I wasn’t in the holding pool. There were people who hadn’t even got their wings – after six weeks of training – in the pool, and there seemed to be too many of us of an age that were left out.”

A Luton-based legal firm is set to take up the matter with the London-based carrier next month. An additional 150 Virgin Atlantic former staff members are also pursuing claims through a cabin crew union.

Lorne Philipot

Author

  • Lorne Philipot

    Lorne is a South Africa-based aviation journalist. He was captivated and fascinated by flying from the day he took his first airline flight. With a passion for aviation in his blood, he has flown to destinations in all corners of the globe. Lorne has traveled extensively and lived in various countries. Drawing on his travels and passion for aviation, Lorne enjoys writing about airlines, routes, networks, and new developments.

    View all posts

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