TWU National Secretary Michael Kaine:
“Yesterday the TWU flagged serious concerns regarding the CEO’s position at Virgin which have now been confirmed. It is encouraging that today Virgin has made a statement on a full service airline. This is an important step forward but we still have serious concerns about the future of Virgin. The statement makes no mention of previous commitments to regional routes, the international division, 6,000 jobs or fleet numbers. We are seeking a meeting with Bain Capital to discuss these issues and our delegates will decide in the coming days about the future of industrial talks with the airline.
We sincerely hope that the veil of secrecy and background shenanigans on display over the past few days is not repeated. Trust must be at the heart of Bain’s dealings.
The TWU’s focus has been on holding Bain Capital to account over the commitments it signed up to before Virgin workers as creditors voted to approve the sale of the airline. We want to see the Federal Government holding the private equity firm to account also.
The Federal Government has presided over a model of ‘no-strings corporate welfare’ where the pay packets of airline executives are protected but aviation workers, regional Australia and businesses in travel and tourism dependent on aviation are cut off. This must end.
Both Virgin and Qantas have received hundreds of millions of dollars in public support since the pandemic began to keep them afloat. In response, Qantas has moved to axe and outsource 2,500 workers and Virgin is trying to move away from commitments made just a month ago. The Federal Government must commit to protecting the interests of Virgin workers, regional Australia and taxpayers and ensuring that airlines are held to account.”