Virgin Atlantic pilots are to strike in the run up to Christmas in a dispute over union recognition, the Professional Pilots Union (PPU) has said.

Pilots for the airline will strike from December 22 to Christmas Day, from December 30 to January 2 and January 4 to 7.

A ballot was called after the union was excluded from talks over proposed changes to pilot's benefits.

Virgin Atlantic does not recognise the PPU, despite the union representing around a third of the airline's pilots.

A spokesperson for the airline said: "A small number of our pilots have voted for industrial action.

"Our absolute priority is to ensure that all of our customers can continue their journeys as planned this Christmas, and we’re working hard to protect all of their trips."