July 1, 2024


TWU Pilots have called Virgin Australia back to the bargaining table following an overwhelming vote against a proposed enterprise agreement that delivered significant pay rises and improved conditions but crucially failed to address genuine concerns over rostering fatigue.

The enterprise agreement was rejected by 61% of voting pilots, with a vote participation rate of 98%. The deal had been put out to vote by Virgin despite not being endorsed by the TWU Pilots bargaining committee due to its removal of six days off per year.

TWU pilots have consistently raised concerns with Virgin and Bain over the need to maintain access to days off to compensate for a new rostering system being abandoned by the airline.

TWU National Secretary Michael Kaine congratulated pilots on taking a stand over an important issue, even though the offer included significant union-won pay increases and other improved conditions.

“Through months of negotiations, pilots have successfully landed an enterprise agreement that significantly improves pay and conditions after sacrifices were made to get Virgin flying again. But this vote shows pilots will not tolerate their legitimate fatigue concerns being ignored or even worsened through the reduction of days off.

“This vote sends a strong message to Virgin and owners Bain Capital to listen to pilots’ concerns and return to negotiations ready to work together on the constructive solutions already put forward by the TWU Pilots committee. With a few key adjustments, Virgin pilots can very soon have an agreement worth voting for.”

The TWU is awaiting updates from Bain Capital over the future of Virgin Australia, including the CEO recruitment process, Qatar’s interest in a stake of the airline, and a public offering.


A recent TWU survey of 180 Virgin pilots revealed the following issues with the rostering system:

  • 85% said it impacts their fatigue management
  • 82% said it impacts family life
  • 55% said it impacts their mental health

The TWU recently wrote to Bain Capital over reports of Paul Jones being a frontrunner for Virgin Australia CEO. Jones was found by the Federal Court to have been illegally motivated to sack and outsource 1700 workers, and to be an unreliable witness.

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