Michael Kaine, National Secretary
Michael has been fighting for the rights of transport workers for over 20 years ...
The Narrow Body AIC met on Wednesday 18th January 2023. Your TWU representatives were Captain Mat Purton, First Officer Duncan Borg and Industrial Officer Edward Nell. Others present included representatives from Virgin Australia and the AFAP.
VIRGIN AUSTRALIA AGENDA ITEMS
An update was provided on the CAE/CMS implementation; however, Virgin Australia was unable to confirm a “go-live” date for the project.
The company advised that usage of the “system” was still low and the success of achieving Trip Swaps was even lower. TWU representatives pressed the point that this is due to restrictive conditions for achieving a successful swap and that the interim system falls well short of the delayed CAE trip swap system. The TWU suggested that posts could be displayed with Open Time, and that restrictive rules be relaxed to facilitate better usage of the system.
The company has since updated pilots on the concepts it has for delivering on this day. Whilst it does appear that it will be a day where the company explains the why’s and why nots to the pilot group, it is hoped that management present for these sessions can also engage in meaningful conversations and receive feedback directly from pilots working daily on the frontline.
Virgin Australia raised the work rules which impacted WA flying for further discussion. The TWU reminded the company that our member survey results were against the proposed work rule changes without any trade off concessions for pilots. Alternatively, as previously put forward by the TWU, Virgin Australia could bargain for a variation to the 2021 EA incorporating the proposed changes.
Following requests from the TWU for a single document, incorporating the different provision that pilots are working under until CAE implementation, the company provided a document to the unions in late December 2022. We provided our feedback that a more robust and complete document was required.
In the lead-up to the AIC meeting, the company wrote to both unions advising that it did not envisage being able to cover all agenda items posed by both unions in the time allocated and requested that both unions choose the three most important, as a priority to discuss. The TWU requested that priority be given to Payroll discrepancies as flagged by members.
TWU AGENDA ITEMS
In response to increasing concerns from members over incorrect pay, the TWU again sought clarification on the provision of complete payment summaries with payslips. With the number of errors being identified, pilots must be given the means to confirm the company has calculated their pay correctly.
Virgin Australia’s initial position was that pilots should check their pay for discrepancies and write to the payroll should any be identified. TWU representatives argued that it was the company’s responsibility to provide complete payslips with a detailed breakdown of the calculations used to determine pay.
The company assured the TWU representatives the ability to provide credit hour summaries was being hampered by technology and resource issues it was now a high priority to remedy. Until this is fixed, the company will provide pilots with payment calculation script data upon request.
The TWU urges pilots experiencing payroll discrepancies to write to the TWU with details, as we pursue compliance from the company on this matter. We also encourage members with concerns to write to payroll requesting the data required to confirm they have been paid correctly.
The TWU queried Crewing representatives on irregular practices around standby duties. We noted the changing of standby periods post-call-out, comprising the reduction of cumulative duty time, and adjustment of standby periods on subsequent days. Whilst the company representatives denied that this occurrence was deliberate, they have sought evidence of occurrence which the TWU has begun collating and submitting for assessment. We encourage pilots experiencing discrepancies with standby periods to write in and submit screenshots for further follow-up.
In a brief touch on the subject, the company assured representatives that the scores would only be used for FRMS purposes and not for punitive measures in the event of incident or accident. Company representatives however reminded pilots that should the scores chosen to be demonstrative of fatiguing nature, then it is strongly recommended that fatigue provisions be accessed by pilots experiencing such conditions.
General Manager, Flight Operations, Alex Scamps, advised that removal rates and overall completions were improved through RP13 and RP1, which was encouraging, however, there was no commitment from the company to retain so Credit Protection into RP2. The TWU cautioned the company on rolling out these measures only when it suited the business and pressed that good faith is a two-way street, and just as much as the company would like assurances on work completion, pilots sought assurances on roster guarantees and income.
The TWU sought further information on the following topics and will await the company’s responses in due course.
Lastly, the AIC meeting was Captain Mat Purton’s final day with Virgin Australia and with the TWU as a pilot representative. On behalf of all members and Virgin Pilots in general, we would like to extend our gratitude for his contributions over many years in the pursuit of better conditions for Virgin Pilots and wish him all the best in his pursuits outside of aviation.
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