The TWU has welcomed Virgin taking steps to address the cost-of-living pressure on its workforce, including bringing forward owed payments, upgrading the pay scale for some cabin crew, and providing an additional reward payment next month.
Half of the union-negotiated profit share scheme 6% bonus will be brought forward a year to this December, while an additional reward payment of either 0.5% or $500, whichever is greater, will be paid to all workers on enterprise agreements across the company next month.
Cabin crew’s enterprise agreement pay increases owed in October will instead be paid in July, while crew on lower pay grades will have their wages lifted to meet their higher paid counterparts. Crew have also achieved improvements to rostering after raising fatigue concerns, with some matters such as breaks still being discussed.
The move follows union delegates and officials over several weeks calling on the company to act to ease the financial strain on workers as inflation soars.
The aviation industry has suffered a mass exodus of workers as the industry was decimated by the pandemic, leaving gaping worker shortages and a major skills gap.
The TWU is calling for a Safe and Secure Skies Commission to safeguard the industry against black swan events such as global health crises, natural disasters and international conflict.
“TWU members fought hard to save Virgin when the former Morrison Government turned its back, preferring instead to stand by Qantas who took a sledgehammer to its workforce illegally sacking 2000 and dragging them through every possible costly appeal rather than reinstate them.
“Virgin workers have stood firm over the last two years to hold the new owners to account, including obtaining long-term commitments to the airline and its people. Last year, workers won a 6% bonus profit share scheme, and we welcome Virgin’s proactive approach to bring part of this payment forward while inflation is through the roof.
“The decision to advance pay increases and reward workers with an additional payment is a good step forward. While there is still work to be done to improve pay and conditions for aviation workers, it is a testament to Virgin that those conversations happen respectfully at the table with workers, rather than callous executive decisions that slash pay and attack jobs.
“The cost-of-living pressure on aviation workers is colossal following the industry’s decimation for two years. Pandemics, natural disasters, security incidents and international unrest are unfortunate but not uncommon events. We need an aviation industry that can weather the storm – that requires an industry body equipped to iron out its vulnerabilities,” said TWU National Secretary Michael Kaine.