Crisis talks to continue for Virgin cabin crew

Transport Workers' Union

Virgin cabin crew have resolved to continue negotiations after progress was made in crisis talks today, but more needs to be done to reach a fair resolution and fully lift pandemic emergency settings.

Today’s negotiation was overseen by the Fair Work Commission, with urgent talks to be scheduled for the middle of next week.

Cabin crew enterprise agreement negotiations have stretched over six months, while for more than a year cabin crew have been raising concerns about back-to-back rosters forcing them to skip rest breaks and battle fatigue.

Virgin pilots return to the bargaining table on Monday to discuss a return to pre-pandemic hours and pay. Ground crew recently settled a strong agreement with more full-time jobs, better hours for part-timers and classification levels reinstated, lifting pay by as much as 20% for the most experienced workers after pandemic settings disbanded seniority levels.

TWU National Assistant Secretary Nick McIntosh urged Virgin to attend talks next week prepared to fully address the concerns its workforce have raised consistently for months.

“Progress was made today, but Virgin needs to do better. With owners Bain Capital pulling the strings from overseas, the fortune they stand to gain from an IPO must not get in the way of reaching a fair outcome. After more than a year of cabin crew raising concerns about unsustainable rostering, and six months of negotiations to correct pay and conditions, it’s disappointing there’s still no resolution.

“We all wanted today’s crisis talks to give certainty to workers and passengers that protected industrial action would not be necessary over the Christmas period, but Virgin hasn’t yet committed to fully lifting emergency settings. If terms and conditions are not restored, high turnover and fatigue-related absenteeism will continue, with service standards doomed not to return to pre-pandemic levels.

“Next week we will continue discussions with Virgin in the hope that a fair outcome can be achieved before Christmas. The TWU cabin crew bargaining committee have given these negotiations their all, and will do whatever it takes to achieve an enterprise agreement that will win the support of the workforce,” he said.

/Public Release. View in full here.

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