Virgin Australia short-haul cabin crew approve new enterprise agreement

written by australianaviation.com.au | September 18, 2015

The first Adelaide sourced and trained crew for Virgin Australia. Virgin Australia has secured a new enterprise bargaining agreement (EBA) with its short-haul cabin crew after 90 per cent voted in favour of a deal the Transport Workers’ Union says will improve conditions for staff.

TWU national secretary Tony Sheldon said the EBA, which covers about 2,100 short-haul cabin crew, made Virgin a “better, more sustainable airline”.

“The company has gained productivity improvements by enhancing the staff’s consultative culture in a highly motivated workforce,” Sheldon said in a statement on Friday.

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“The process of negotiating this deal proves that when management engage in a respectful and meaningful way with their employees a lot more is achieved. It will ensure current and future employees have a strong voice in the airline.”

The TWU said the agreement included specific leave for those who have been affected by family and domestic violence, “no negative changes and no trade-off of current conditions”, increased overtime and better rostering and crewing practices. There were also “updates to wages, conditions and classification to recognise the role of cabin crew in Virgin Australia’s expansion and move to a full-service airline”.

TWU negotiating team member Anne Brine said the EBA would “give us good careers while we provide for our families”.

“Negotiations were tough and lengthy but the result shows what can be achieved when the crew stand together.”

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The approved EBA was expected to be sent to Fair Work Australia for final approval.

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9 Comments

  • Ben

    says:

    Oh Anne, Virgin gained no productivity with the new EBA. How do you see yourself providing for your family when Virgin goes bankrupt?

    Qantas even closer now to closing the gap on cost whilst still enjoying 70% of the business market.

    Good job virgin

  • James from Sydney

    says:

    I can’t help but think that Tony Sheldon was having a dig at Qantas when he said “The process of negotiating this deal proves that when management engage in a respectful and meaningful way with their employees a lot more is achieved”.

  • Guy

    says:

    @Ben But Virgin did gain productivity increases during the change from Virgin Blue to Virgin Australia. They also promised that they would look after crew after they gained massive productivity increases (during the GFC) in the 2009 EBA.
    There’s only so much crew can give in the race to the bottom that currently plagues our industry and this EBA is a step in the right direction.

  • Nick

    says:

    Yes Ben, it’s easy to cut costs when you sack 5000 of your employees.

    Good one Qantas.

  • Pete

    says:

    Ben, it’s about time the Aviation industry took a step forward!
    Thanks to the TWU,Aviation is heading back to the job of choice that it used to be.

  • Freddie

    says:

    Really I don’t think any of you were there during negotiations according to my source. I firmly believe these negotiations were entered into by both parties….with a unified outcome…which had been achieved.

  • Paul

    says:

    Interesting to hear Tony Sheldon mention “respectful and meaningful” when he personally hasn’t displayed those traits in many years of consultation. You can’t erase years of antagonism with one warm and fuzzy quote. Oh, and BTW Tony, when did you ever work for an airline or be concerned about the future of an airline?

  • Carolyn @ iCabin Crew Connect

    says:

    For those of us at the negotiating table as Employee Bargaining Representatives, acknowledgement of Virgin’s early, unwavering acceptance of cabin crew’s claim – over the entire negotiating period from 2013-2015 – to an immediate substantial salary upgrade in recognition of their willingness between EBAs to move to a full service airline can’t be understated.

    Qantas operates 2 separate entities and 2 separate EBAs with different salary structures and conditions in delivery of their short-haul inflight service. Virgin, to their credit, understood Employee Bargaining Representatives’ position that their cabin crew’s priority was to operate under the SAME CONDITIONS across the short haul service delivery network.

    Some new productivity improvements and off-sets were exchanged in reaching this proposal, but any airline that waits until EBAs expire before discussing new initiatives or competitive advantage opportunities with its staff places market share at risk. The reinvigorated consultative mechanisms, committed to by Virgin early in negotiations, allow for timely responses to market adjustments ensuring cabin crew are consulted along the way.

  • Peter Paulos

    says:

    The problem with independent bargaining groups is that they can’t push the Aviation industry forward as a whole.

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