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Landslide win for new Virgin cabin crew enterprise agreement

written by Jake Nelson | February 29, 2024

Image: Virgin Australia.

Virgin Australia cabin crew have overwhelmingly voted in favour of a new enterprise agreement.

Ninety per cent of employees approved the deal, which includes pay increases of between 14 and 18 per cent over three years, as well as an extra six days off per year, recognition for unpaid standby time, and overtime after nine hours.

The deal was struck shortly before Christmas, forestalling the possibility of industrial action over the busy holiday period, and followed an extraordinary intervention by Virgin founder Sir Richard Branson.

“This is the first time in the history of the airline that the EA covering our domestic Cabin Crew has been approved on the first ballot and marks a significant milestone for Virgin Australia and our team members,” the airline said in a statement.

“The Agreement has the full support of both the TWU and FAAA and locks in higher salaries, new or improved allowances, overtime, and other work and lifestyle benefits for our Cabin Crew team members.


“This is a positive outcome for Virgin Australia team members and reflects our constructive negotiations with both unions.”

According to the unions, the new EA delivers better pay, safer and fairer rosters, and work/life balance for cabin staff. TWU national assistant secretary Nick McIntosh said the result of the vote showed that the negotiators had reached a good outcome.

“This was a great result for cabin crew who had struggled with gruelling rosters and the hangover of pandemic sacrifices that made it hard to support themselves and their families,” he said.

“Workers will benefit from six additional days off a year, recognition for time spent on unpaid standby, overtime improvements, and pay increases between 14% and 18% over the three-year agreement.

“Workers fought hard for this agreement. After months of negotiations, they remained steadfast in their determination to make Virgin cabin crew jobs fairer, safer and more sustainable.”

McIntosh has called for further commitments from Virgin owner Bain Capital to its workforce, particularly following the shock exit of airline CEO Jayne Hrdlicka earlier this month.

“Last year, cabin crew, ground crew and pilots served a five-point claim on owners Bain Capital for greater respect, good secure jobs, ongoing investment in the business and its workforce, an employee share scheme and support for industry reform,” he said.

“While this agreement and commitments to insource more ground handling jobs go a long way to addressing this, we need to see further commitments from Bain Capital – especially in light of the recruitment for a new CEO and plans for an IPO.

“Outstanding agreement negotiations for Virgin and VARA pilots and VARA cabin crew must now be resolved quickly and sufficiently. All Virgin workers deserve good, secure and sustainable jobs.”

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