The Transport Workers’ Union has welcomed the approval of the deal for Bain Capital to take over Virgin.
TWU National Secretary Michael Kaine congratulated Virgin workers on the work they have done during the administration process to ensure a focus on rebuilding a strong airline.
“This is a new beginning and an important day for Virgin and for Australian aviation. I want to congratulate Virgin workers who have been instrumental in getting us to the point where Virgin has now been rebooted and is on a plan to get back to flying. There have been long and difficult days and our thoughts are with the 3,000 workers who will no longer be with the airline. Virgin workers stuck together and helped win important assurances from Bain Capital which will put the airline on the best track to survival. These include resuming as a fuller capacity airline, maximising jobs, retaining regional operation Vara, tiered cabin classes, airport lounges and the airline’s international arm,” he said.
“We know there is a long road ahead to ensure Virgin’s success and we will hold Bain Capital to account on its promises. We will do this through our usual channels but also through the union advisory council that Bain has agreed to set up so workers voices on governance can be heard. The direction the board takes will be instrumental in ensuring Virgin’s long term survival and this can only be done through cooperation rather than confrontation with workers,” Kaine added.
“We will also hold the Federal Government to account over its failure to support Virgin and the wider aviation industry. We will remember how the Government sat on the sidelines and refused to give Virgin workers, the travelling public and the wider community the assurances they need on ensuring a strong second airline. The broader economy will suffer if Federal Government continues to fail to deliver a national plan on aviation. It simply won’t be up to the task of helping to pull us out of a recession when restrictions ease,” he added.
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.
A survey from May shows 70% of aviation workers have been stood down from their jobs with almost 40% stating they have no income. Over 1,000 cabin crew, airline caterers, cleaners, baggage handlers, ramp workers, security officials, refuellers and drivers responded to the survey with almost 30% stating they have had to access their superannuation to get by. Almost half of respondents are worried they won’t be able to support their families throughout the crisis while 20% say they are worried they will lose their house.