February 20, 2024


Following the news of Jayne Hrdlicka’s sudden retirement, the TWU is seeking an urgent recommitment from Bain Capital to the ongoing promises it made to the workforce through the sale of Virgin Australia, especially as the prospect of an IPO continues to loom large.

As the largest creditor group, TWU members played a pivotal role in the sale of Virgin Australia to Bain Capital, securing commitments to maximise jobs, prioritise workers, retain its regional arm VARA, and return to a full capacity airline.

The union says the new CEO must understand the importance of listening to workers and engaging constructively on workplace concerns and initiatives, which have seen Virgin Australia soar back to profit.

Last year, TWU members at Virgin ground crew, cabin crew and pilots served a five-point claim on Bain Capital for respect, good secure jobs, ongoing investment in the business and workforce, an employee share scheme and a commitment to industry reform.

Through collective bargaining, workers succeeded in achieving substantial pay increases, more full-time jobs and hours for part-timers, and commitments to insource more directly-hired jobs.

The union is calling for remaining bargains for Virgin pilots and VARA cabin crew and pilots to be urgently resolved.

TWU National Secretary Michael Kaine said:

“While not seeing eye to eye straight away, we acknowledge the ongoing work we’ve seen from Jayne Hrdlicka towards meeting the commitments made to workers during the sale to Bain Capital.

“The decision to answer workers’ call with more insourced airport jobs in stark contrast to Qantas’ destructive model of fragmentation was, in our view, one of the best leadership decisions made by Hrdlicka and her team. It showed that listening to workers’ ideas on the best way forward for the airline is a valuable attribute for the CEO of Virgin Australia.

“Bain Capital must now reassure workers that the commitments made to remain with the airline long-term and to prioritise good, secure jobs and loyal workers are unchanged. The recruitment of the next CEO must carefully consider attitudes towards workers and experience collaborating with the workforce to achieve the best results for a business.

“Aviation is a volatile industry, made more so by private ownership of airports and airlines. To rebuild and stabilise the industry, we need a Safe and Secure Skies Commission to set fair and appropriate standards.”

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