On the back of hearing member feedback about a range of issues your USU delegate team met with Virgin Australia management from Sydney Domestic Airport last week.

There were a range of issues discussed that are summarised below, but the main focus was on providing a more positive and safe workplace for all Guest Services employees. The union and your delegates understand this is a challenging time and we are committed to working with management to look after the health & wellbeing of our members. We will continue to follow up these issues in the near future and make sure positive changes occur:

OT Distribution

  •  The fair and equal distribution of overtime and extra hours, especially amongst part-time employees, was discussed in depth. The union provided specific details on occurrences where this wasn’t happening and management has committed to follow this matter up.

Wheelchair Passengers

  • With the recent change to unlimited wheelchair weights the union flagged WHS concerns with Virgin management. Management confirmed they expect no one to put themselves in harm’s way and would ensure this is communicated to all staff. You have the right to wait until help is available without suffering adverse repercussions.
  • Hoban employees will now be assisting with wheelchair duties. It has been confirmed they will be signed off to go onto the aerobridge and onto planes. This means we can put the concern that the change of contractor arrangement was going to put more workload on Virgin employees to rest.

Sudden Increase in 4 hour Shifts

  • The union highlighted the drastic increase in 4 hour shifts for part-time workers recently. With the location of Sydney Airport and the difficulties getting to and from the work location it is simply not financially viable for staff to be performing numerous 4 hour shifts every week. After being promised that more hours were added to the roster we had still seen no change in the pattern and made management aware of this. Virgin management has committed to following this issue up and ensuring improvements are made.

Lack of help on the floor when boarding

  • The lack of help available to staff sometimes left at gates by themselves was also tabled as an issue. Virgin management have said they are aware of this issue and will take actions to ensure all staff are pulling their weight and to ensure adequate staffing levels. There was also a commitment that improved and increased training schedules were on the way to help make employees more competent and confident within their roles.

That is a brief summary of the key issues discussed in the meeting. As stated previously, the union and your delegates will be holding a follow up meeting in the coming weeks to check the progress of numerous issues. In the meantime, if you have an issue please contact your delegates Lorry Parissakis or Tara Stewart. The only way we know issues are occurring is by your feedback, so don’t be afraid to speak up and let us know if there are things we should be made aware of. The union is here for YOU and we encourage every member to actively participate.

We are also welcoming new members to the team. If you or someone you know is interested in joining the USU they can join online here or via email union organiser Josh Paterson at jpaterson@usu.org.au. This is a very important time to be a member of your union!