Your USU/ASU team has been negotiating your new enterprise agreement with VA for over seven months, and VA is still not putting fair offers on the table. The airline’s pay offer is 9% over three years (not a minimum of 13.6% as VA describes). In 2022, many VA workers may have received a pay increase of 4.6%; the Fair Work Commission mandated the pay increase because the airline’s pay is so low. Cost of living is increasing at more than 7% – Workers deserve better than VA’s current offer of 2.5% for the first year, 3.5% for the second and 3% for the third year.
If VA’s pay were not so low, the Fair Work Commission would not have forced the airline to increase it. We believe VA workers deserve more, and it is time for VA workers to consider industrial action to put pressure on the company to value the work we do.
In addition to the low pay offer, VA proposes to cut how overtime is earned at -48 hours. Currently, if you pick up a shift at -48 hours, you are paid overtime. VA is seeking a change that overtime is only paid if VA alters your shifts. This would lead to less money in your pocket. Not only is the pay offer truly 9%, but the proposal negatively changes how overtime is paid.
VA is proposing 10% for the day shift to attract more people to come to work. At face value, it may seem like a good idea, but if you are sick or on carer’s leave, it won’t apply. VA should pay better wages to incentivise attendance. VA is also proposing to cut sick leave days available to you.
Over the seven months, VA and the USU/ASU have agreed on very little. We have agreed on the following:
- Improving consultation provisions,
- A travel allowance, and
- Payment for breaks that workers do not receive.
We have received high-level information on VA’s position on updating the classification structure and its DILs proposal. We have not received any significant detail on what positions are at each level. We have not yet reached agreement on improving shift swaps.
After seven months and very little movement from VA, we are asking members to fill out our survey on what is important to you and what action you would take to win it. This is a survey to hear your views. It is not the formal vote required by the Fair Work Act. Should members decide we need to take industrial action, formal steps will be taken. To make sure you are included in the member decision-making, you need to make sure your address and contact details that the USU/ASU has on file for you are accurate.
Industrial action is legal action taken by workers to attempt to improve their wages and conditions. Some examples are:
- Working to roster/ task,
- Wearing union material,
- Distributing union material to passengers,
- Processing overweight luggage without charging the customer,
- Short stoppages of work (e.g., 20 minutes), and
- Extending breaks by 10 minutes.
In escalated cases, it can involve bans on overtime and strikes.
Please fill out our survey and tell us how important the current claims are to you and what you are willing to do in support of them.
If you are not already a member, now is the time to join. You can join online here: www.usu.org.au/join. If you require any support or additional information, please contact your local USU/ASU delegates or USU/ASU organiser Thomas Russell on 0419 761 320.