Your USU/ASU delegates met face-to-face with Virgin Australia representatives to talk about important issues to you.
Short staffing remains an issue for VA, but the airline has continued to recruit new staff every month. The airline raised that short staffing and an imbalance of skill sets have contributed to:
- 14-hour working days at Melbourne Airport. Many Melbourne Airport members have been asked to work consecutive 14-hour shifts. Your delegates raised this as a safety concern and that members who are completing consecutive 14 hour days are suffering from high fatigue levels and consequently call in sick. VA reports that 14-hour shifts should be the exception, not the rule, but nonetheless has agreed to audit the amount of 14-hour shifts and work with the USU/ASU and local delegates on controls to minimise the health and safety risks.
- The recruitment process. Currently, no policy limits employees who were declared redundant from returning to the airline. VA has indicated that returning employees do not have priority for any new job opportunities, but where the returning employees have an in-demand skill set, they may be offered other roles. If there are circumstances where you have been disadvantaged due to poor process, please contact your USU/ASU Organiser for advice.
On a positive note, with the return of VA’s flight capacity, the airline will be looking to review the full-time numbers with the intention to increase full-time positions by RP 8.
Part-timers should no longer be rostered on ‘unassigned shift’ or ‘shift to be assigned’. The practice should now have stopped, and members should receive a detailed roster.
Job share and Flexible Working Arrangements (FWAs)
Job Share and FWAs will be expiring in the middle of the year. It means you will need to reapply for your arrangements. The airline has not committed to increasing the amount of job share and FWA but has committed to not decreasing the current amount available. While the airline has set a cap on the amount of Job Share and FWAs it will enter into, it must consider any FWA application on its merit at any point you apply.
Some members have been asked to find an AM/ PM shift partner themselves when applying for a Job Share arrangement. VA has confirmed this it is not your obligation to find a partner but is the airline’s responsibility.
Members have raised concerns about the inadequate training being provided to employees. Not only is poor training terrible for morale, in some instances, it can lead to poor safety outcomes. VA is reviewing its training program and agreed to brief the USU/ASU on it. We hope to see a training program that identifies key timeline and competency outcomes, so employees are appropriately trained and confident in roles.
The airline has also agreed to communicate to employees the steps to take when reporting safety issues.
Enterprise Agreement negotiations
Your enterprise agreement is due to expiry. An enterprise agreement is a legally binding document that contains your working conditions, such as pay, rosters and leave. As your EA is about to expire, the USU/ASU and VA will begin to negotiate new working conditions.
The USU/ASU will soon ask you (via a survey) what you want to see in your agreement.
We are by your side!
Please pass this bulletin to your colleagues who are not in the union. They can join at https://usunsw.org/join. Speak to your organiser for more information:
0433 339 656
0497 555 875
NSW US Branch
0419 761 320
1800 177 244