With an IPO on the cards in the near future for Virgin, the TWU says workers whose sacrifices ensured the company’s long-term future during a lengthy administration process must now be recognised.
During the administration process while aviation had been decimated, workers fought hard to secure commitments from Bain including Virgin resuming as a fuller capacity airline, maximising jobs, retaining regional operation Vara, tiered cabin classes, airport lounges and the airline’s international arm.
Workers across Virgin have been under substantial pressure as the company increases workloads to meet demand, with fatigue a significant ongoing issue in the workforce. With bargaining upcoming for cabin crew, pilots and ground crew in 2023, it is essential that Virgin addresses these pressures on the workers who have ensured the company’s success.
TWU National Secretary Michael Kaine said that for years aviation workers have been told they need to show restraint because of the volatility of the industry, and it was now time for Virgin to reward workers for their dedication to the airline now the company is back on its feet.
“TWU members fought hard to save Virgin and have held new owners to account over the past two years, securing vital long-term commitments to the airline and workforce. Virgin’s passionate and loyal workforce have stood by the company through incredibly tough times, and worked hard through immense workload pressures to ensure the business returned as a strong competitor.”
“With a float now on the cards, workers must be rewarded for their crucial role in the company’s success. We welcomed Virgin’s announcement that it would bring forward a bonus profit share scheme as inflation surged, as well as additional reward payments.”
“As aviation continues to ramp up, so must job security, fair workloads and rostering, and decent pay and conditions, when bargaining commences for much of the workforce this year. After three years of sticking by Virgin throughout the most tumultuous period in the industry’s history, and now staring down significant cost-of-living pressures, there is now work to be done to improve conditions for aviation workers who have sacrificed so much for the company.”
“We look forward to continuing a co-operative, respectful relationship with Virgin at the bargaining table, rather than Qantas’ approach of attacking its workforce.”
The TWU is calling on the Federal Government to implement a Safe and Secure Skies Commission to rebalance aviation towards a safe, quality industry that serves the community and its workforce, and protects from external vulnerabilities.