Last week your USU delegates Lorry Parissakis and Tara Stewart met with Virgin Management to follow up the various issues that were raised in our previous meeting in early May. We followed up on numerous issues and raised a few new points that we had been made aware of and made some genuine progress in discussions. A summary of some of the points discussed is below:
Increase in 4 hour shifts for part-time workers
- Management came good on their promise to investigate this issue and came back with statistics on the amount of short shifts allocated over the last few months. It was noted that short shifts, mainly 4 hour shifts, had actually seen a very slight decrease in the last month or two from the report we were shown. It is possible that these shifts had affected more of our members in the last month thus we received more complaints and this created the perception that there had been a sudden increase in short shifts. For now, the union is happy with management’s explanation and we would like to remind members that if you are having issues with short shifts you can contact your manager, if that fails then contact your delegates or union organiser. Situations can be helped on a case by case basis, you just have to ask.
Virgin share buyback issue
- We were notified that after looking into this issue it seems that outdated contact details were the main culprit for people not being notified of Virgin’s intention to buy shares back. There are still some reports of employees who have had their shares sold but have not received any money and Virgin management have committed to getting in touch with these people in the near future and helping them receive any monies owing.
- We were notified that this issue was addressed by supervisors in team briefs recently. Again, we must reiterate that it is no staff member’s duty to put themselves in harm’s way and you will not be subject to any adverse repercussions if a process takes longer because you need to seek help. The union and management are in agreeance with this point and have discussed the need to shift the culture towards people looking after their own health instead of being overly worried about business or passenger requirements. In the long run it is best for both employees and Virgin for staff to be healthy and incident free while at work.
- Other ideas to help reduce the impact on employees were raised by your delegates. Having more people signed off for use of the golf buggy was discussed and will be looked at by management and is probably the most viable short-term option. Another option was to upgrade and/or increase the fleet of golf buggies sometime in the future. We will keep track of this issue moving forward.
Casual (Hoban) employees
- Questions and concerns surrounding the employment conditions of casual staff were also discussed. As Virgin doesn’t have direct control over some of the aspects in question we are seeking to get in touch with Hoban Recruitment and will report back shortly when we raise these issues with the appropriate people.
- It was mentioned that casual staff could possibly be used to alleviate the 4 hour shift issue for permanent employees. This would give casual staff the chance to pick up some shifts and due to the casual penalties they are entitled to it is more viable for them to turn up for these shorter shifts.
Oversize counter lack of help
- Delegates also noted that there was increasing pressure on staff on the oversize counter with little to no assistance being provided currently. Management have told us that at any time if a staff member feels overwhelmed or that assistance is required they can call for help. The union would like to advocate this and encourage people to seek help in these situations. We care about your wellbeing and feeling snowed under is not an effective or safe way to work for you or the company. If there are issues getting help please contact your delegates and we will follow this issue up.
- The current incentive scheme was discussed along with possible improvements. Your delegates highlighted that the scheme seems lacklustre currently and it would be good to receive some more positive feedback. Management are going to look into options to improve the incentive scheme especially in the area of gates where it is very difficult to get any positive recognition currently.
As stated previously, your delegates are 100% committed to following up these issues and any others you may have. Any discussions with your delegates or the union are completely confidential and are our most valuable way of improving your workplace conditions.
We are able to spend this time and be heard because of the strong union representation amongst Guest Services staff at Virgin and we encourage ALL staff to join us. If you need any information regarding joining please contact your delegates Lorry Parissakis or Tara Stewart, your organiser Josh Paterson on 0419 761 320 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or you may visit www.usu.org.au/join/.