The Transport Workers’ Union has welcomed the announcement on Virgin for a fuller capacity airline, maximising jobs, retaining regional operation Vara, tiered cabin classes, airport lounges and the airline’s international arm.
TWU National Secretary Michael Kaine said the union would work to support Virgin workers amid job losses.
“Today will be a difficult day for Virgin workers and we will support them in the days and weeks ahead as details emerge on job losses. This has not been an easy process and Virgin workers have worked hard to ensure that instead of going down the route of a low-cost model where more jobs might have gone, Virgin will be able to retain its place in the market and hold onto the vital experience and skills of many of its workers,” he said.
“The notion that Virgin could survive as a competitor to Jetstar and others at the lower end of the market was entirely baseless and something that Virgin workers have opposed strenuously. We are pleased that this idea has been sidelined with common sense prevailing that this would only have played into the hands of Virgin’s competitors,” he added.
“The TWU and other unions have made the case for the maximum number of jobs at the airline and to ensure that it retains the elements that make it competitive and an important option for the travelling public, such as its maximising jobs, retaining regional operation Vara, tiered cabin classes, airport lounges and the airline’s international arm,” he said.
“While the announcement today is a broadly positive one for Virgin, the future of Australian aviation remains in grave doubt. We urge the Federal Government to adopt a strategic plan for the sector so that the two-airline model can endure and that the companies which service them can stay in business. The Victorian lockdown means aviation in Australia will remain on its knees well into next year. Other governments around the world are intervening in their aviation industries to help them plan for their futures. The Federal Government is failing the Australian aviation sector,” Kaine said.
Aviation workers have endorsed a national plan they want the Federal Government to implement which would see it take a greater role in regulating the industry, including: equity stakes for struggling businesses; ensuring workers are paid the same rate for the same work; making safety a number one priority; ensuring all airport workers stood down have access to Jobkeeper; and capping CEO pay.