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Protecting aviation jobs and conditions: The AWU is working with Virgin Airlines to ensure its survival

April 2, 2020

AWU representatives met with Virgin Australia CEO Paul Scurrah and senior management this week to discuss both the immediate and long-term plans for the financial security of its employees.

Virgin informed AWU representatives that it has reserves in place to cover workers entitlements, including the capacity to pay out any redundancies.

Management also delivered news of immediate company redundancies in New Zealand and that whilst no job losses were on the cards yet in Australia, it could not rule out any future redundancies or provide any idea of numbers of staff involved.

The AWU will be working hard to protect each and every job.

If job losses are to occur, our union will ensure any redundancy packages are negotiated fairly, legally and in the best interests of AWU members.

The airline is currently running at just 10% capacity and has stood down 8000 employees, but told AWU and ACTU representatives that it is fully committed to returning to full airline operations once the COVID-19 crisis has passed.

A possible Federal Government assistance package to the tune of more than $1 billion was also discussed, with Virgin revealing the funds were essential in shoring up market confidence and would allow it to operate past the crisis. The AWU in co-operation with the ACTU will lobby to ensure that any Federal Government funding deal for Virgin must include a commitment to maintain Australian jobs..

Virgin also relayed its plans to access the new JobKeeper program and distribute this money to employees.

There’s never been a more important time to join your aviation union.

Daniel Walton, AWU National Secretary, said that the COVID-19 crisis shows Australian just how important being a union member is. AWU members have access to expert advice and professional services when they need it most.

“Virgin workers need a union with experience and a track record in negotiating successfully with the airline industry. At the AWU we’ve got Virgin workers covered.”

“The AWU has shown time and time again that it can secure wins for its members across the whole engineering sector in Australia.” Walton said.

The Union has made it clear that securing a vibrant aviation industry in Australia was the first priority – but that the AWU would never take a backward step on protecting jobs, wages and conditions.

“Once this crisis subsides, we will make sure Australian aviation is strong – but right now, the priority is to work with senior management at Virgin and other airlines to ensure they do the right thing by their employees.”

The AWU has represented workers across the airline engineering sector for decades and is working with all the major airlines through this crisis to ensure the best outcomes are negotiated for all members.

Click here to find out more about the AWU, and how you can become a member today. 

The AWU is there for you – Join now!

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