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Some progress made at Virgin–but a long way to go?

21 April 2017 By ASU, the airlines industry union

Your ASU delegates met with Virgin management on Thursday 20 April 2017 to progress negotiations for your new enterprise agreement.

We finally heard from management a bit about the changes they want in the new agreement, including:

  • More variable shift lengths (maybe 10 hours one day, 6 hours the next, for example)
  • Restrictions around when overtime is paid
  • Reduce employees’ personal leave entitlement

Some of these suggestions are alarming. We told management we would wait to see their concrete proposals and then come and talk to members about it.

  • Virgin also responded to some of the ASU claims –
  • Virgin agreed to increase paid family violence leave from 5 days a year to 10 days a year
  • Virgin agreed to have further discussions with us around:
    • fairer use of chronologies and making sure employees have an opportunity to respond to negative things that are put in their chronology
    • eliminating the ROS day
    • reducing the use of contractors so Virgin employees can get more hours
    • a process through which employees can fairly access training
  • Virgin has outright refused our claims around:
    • ensuring staff have adequate time at the start of their shift to clock on, review any emails/procedures and get to their starting location;
    • ensuring employees are not disadvantaged for taking sick leave by reducing overtime payments
    • increasing paid parental leave
    • providing clean and safe lunch rooms for guest services staff

And of course, we have not yet been told what pay increase Virgin will offer.

Our next meeting is on 17 May in Melbourne. We expect to receive management’s concrete proposals at that meeting, and will arrange consultation with members straight after we receive those proposals.

Changes to gate operations and marshalling

Your ASU delegates also met with management about the changes they have announced to gate operations and inbound marshalling. We raised a number of concerns that ASU members have told us, including:

How will one staff member manage disembarking passengers requiring wheelchairs on the inbound flight as well as preparation for the next outbound flight?

The decrease in hours available to guest services employees as a consequence of not doing the marshalling, and not having 2 employees at the gate for the turn

That a trial of this arrangement already happened at Brisbane Airport and didn’t work – if there was a disruption then there would not be adequate float staff to cover boarding

The increased likelihood of employees having to undertake boarding by themselves, and the risks of this

Virgin said it would be trialling the new system at each port for 1 day in early May. We suggested that Virgin should undertake a longer trial than a single day before implementing the full rollout. However, Virgin did not agree to this.

We have asked to meet with Virgin again after the single day trials, and before the full rollout so that we can provide feedback from our members.

Please provide any feedback you have on the changes to your workplace delegate or organisers: (download the full bulletin details) icon Virgin Australia Bulletin # 5 - 21 April 2017

Time to join

With all the changes happening, and management making its claims to reduce some conditions in bargaining, it is important Virgin employees work together to get the best deal. If you’re not already a member, it’s time to join: If you know a colleague who is not yet a member, you should ask them to join.

Contact Details
Name: Linda White
Telephone: 03 9342 1400