Virgin workers push for full capacity airline

Workers are stressing the need for a full capacity second airline rather than a low cost carrier as the option for Virgin’s transition.

The call comes as the first committee of inspection, which represents creditors, met today as part of the voluntary administration process for the airline.

TWU National Secretary Michael Kaine said workers were keen to ensure a strong second airline, something that the Federal Government needed to guarantee.

“Workers have got three criteria when it comes to assessing any bids. They are interested in parties which have a willingness to engage with the workforce; which will get Virgin back into the air in its fullest capacity; and which have a long-term plan for staying the course, rather than a cut-and-run approach. Workers are concerned about any parties planning a stripped back airline, where assets are stripped and sold off. This option would not meet the needs of workers or the travelling public,” he said.

“Workers are asking how much longer the Federal Government can stay out of this process? It is clear Virgin will need assistance in the medium term to guarantee cash flows but also to ensure long term survival in an uncertain environment as the pandemic continues. Virgin’s woes are well-known but Qantas and other aviation companies will also need assistance. Qantas’s desperation for cash is palpable, shown this week in its ill-timed statement on trying to get back to flying without adequate protections for passengers or workers. Meanwhile, thousands of airport workers, such as those working for Dnata, are being shut out of Jobkeeper Payment. The Federal Government urgently needs a plan for the entire industry,” Kaine added.

Aviation workers have endorsed a national plan they want to see the Government implement which would see it take a greater role in regulating the industry, including: equity stakes for struggling businesses; ensuring workers are paid the same rate for the same work; making safety a number one priority; ensuring all airport workers stood down have access to Jobkeeper; and capping CEO pay.

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