Transport Workers' Union

Pilots, cabin crew and ground workers have collectively called on Virgin Australia owners Bain Capital to commit to a five-point claim to prioritise good, secure jobs, fix workplace issues at the airline, and invest in its long-term success before pushing ahead with an IPO.

Workers are calling on Bain Capital to prioritise and reward workers for their hard work and sacrifices, address workplace issues that have caused stress, fatigue and high turnover, invest in the airline, and maintain Virgin Australia’s high safety and service standards.

Workers at Virgin, many of whom saw the airline through administration, are eager to remind the owners of their 2020 commitments to prioritise jobs and remain with the airline for the long-term to ensure ongoing stability.

The five-point claim calls on Bain to commit to:

1. Respect for workers

Address cultural issues that have led to high turnover, absenteeism and disputation

2. Good, secure jobs

All ground, cabin crew and pilots to be insourced in good, secure jobs

3. Ongoing investment

Invest in technology, fleet and workers to maintain and grow safe, fair standards

4. Employee share scheme

Annual $1,000 employee share scheme in conjunction with IPO

5. Industry reform

Support the campaign for a Safe and Secure Skies Commission to rebalance aviation

TWU National Secretary Michael Kaine said: “Virgin workers were instrumental in seeing the airline through the administration process and back into profit. They have always had the airline’s best interests at heart and are today calling on Bain to ensure its long-term success.

“The Virgin workforce is at the core of the airline’s reputation and service standards. Unlike Qantas which illegally sacked and treated its workforce with disdain, Virgin has historically valued its dedicated team. Workers are eager to get back to that workplace culture after pandemic sacrifices and rostering issues have caused workers to fall behind and staff turnover and absenteeism to rise.

“Ground workers, cabin crew and pilots are standing together to call for fairness, respect and the opportunity to build and maintain Virgin Australia as the best airline it can be.

“Bain stands to gain hundreds of millions from an upcoming IPO, it is only right that hardworking staff are rewarded for their efforts through a reasonable employee share scheme, the likes of which are common in Australia.

“Aviation must be rebalanced to ensure good quality jobs and service standards are prioritised over corporate greed, which has run riot at Qantas and dominated the industry. Workers are calling on Bain to join them in campaigning for a Safe and Secure Skies Commission to restore aviation to a stable, reliable industry for all.”

Virgin ground workers and cabin crew have commenced enterprise agreement negotiations, while pilots will begin negotiations in the coming months.

The TWU has also written to Queensland Investment Corporation (QIC) and Virgin Group as significant stakeholders that have a shared interest in the long-term success of the airline and stand to gain from a public offering.

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