BRISBANE- Fatigue, extended working hours, high staff turnover, and impractical turnaround expectations are driving the cabin crew at Virgin Australia (VA) to seek a vote on protected industrial action.
The Transport Workers Union (TWU) has announced that airline workers will submit an application for a protected action ballot on Monday, aiming to compel management to address their grievances.
Virgin Cabin Crew Strike
On Sunday, TWU National Secretary Michael Caine stated that this vote comes three weeks after ground crew members at Virgin sought and received approval for a protected action ballot from the Fair Work Commission.
According to Mr. Caine, the airline’s staff is frustrated with missed breaks and the necessity to take on additional employment due to consecutive freezes on salary increases.
Despite their dedication during the pandemic, contributing to the airline’s return to profitability, he asserted that the owners, Bain Capital, have not fulfilled their commitment to rectify low wages, enhance work-life balance, and address unsafe rostering.
The push for a vote on industrial action by Virgin Australia cabin crew was triggered after the airline’s management cancelled a recent meeting where they were expected to respond to workers’ demands with an updated agreement offer, according to the union.
The Transport Workers Union (TWU) stated that workers are emphasizing that under-staffing is causing concerns related to in-flight safety, posing potential risks to customer lives.
TWU National Secretary Michael Caine expressed that employees at the airline are experiencing burnout, with several cabin crew members reporting near-misses on their drive home from extended shifts.
He emphasized the need for a significant shift in Virgin’s bargaining approach to ensure a fair and sustainable enterprise agreement offer and to avoid potential last-resort strikes.
TWU members have presented a five-point plan aimed at improving pay rates, job security, and staff retention. The union is advocating for the establishment of a Safe and Secure Skies Commission, asserting that it could establish appropriate aviation standards and rebalance the industry.
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