The Virgin Australia Group announced Stand Downs yesterday for many other parts of the business. They have also announced that the International network is not going to continue flying the current schedule after we are through the COVID-19 outbreak. This means that some redundancies have also been announced.
After consultation with your Union, stand downs for Ground Crew will not commence before Monday, 30 March 2020. Stand downs from work are occurring because 90% of the domestic network will cease on 29 March 2020. The period of the Stand Down is currently up to and including 14 June 2020. Virgin Australia also advised that Stand Down notices will be issued today.
This means that from 30 March 2020 there will be no useful work for a significant number of staff.
Stand downs are a provision available to the Company under the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth). This provides for stand down without pay and means that staff members remain employed but are not required to attend work. Employees who are not stood down will be required to do their normal duties.
This is very serious – stand down is normally without pay. The ACTU’s advice is that unpaid stand downs are permitted once all other options have been exhausted. However, Virgin Australia has indicated that they will allow access to accrued leave – including Annual Leave and Long Service Leave where eligible - and also allow staff to go into a small negative annual leave balance of up to two weeks if a staff member exhausts their leave accruals. Importantly, continuity of service is maintained and employment is maintained.
We are trying to work through the detail of how people should be selected to continue working the airline’s remaining reduced schedule.
Due to the announcements about the Company’s international network, Virgin Australia have said that they will be seeking to make Ground Crew staff 242 employees redundant. We are working through the detail of a proposal presented to us yesterday and will be fighting to ensure that the Company follows the redundancy provisions in your agreement. We will continue to keep you up to date as our discussions with Virgin Australia continue. We have also locked in a meeting with management tomorrow – Friday afternoon.
What are we doing?
The ASU continues to work through every available option with the Company to assist with the impact to you. We have also met with the ACTU and other unions to discuss this situation and next steps to protect you job security.
We are working hard to ensure that you have access to income. Any steps the business takes need to be transparent and as fair as possible in this difficult time.
We have also prepared a guide to what government assistance is available to you - check it out on our website — asu.asn.au.
Also we know this is a very stressful time, do not hesitate to seek assistance if you need it ...organisations like Lifeline 131114 or Beyond Blue 1300 224 636 are available if needed.
Remember your ASU is with you every step of the way during this very difficult time. (Download the full bulletin here). Virgin Australia Bulletin - 26 March 2020