Virgin Australia is facing imminent strike action over the busy Christmas travel period after cabin crew voted to continue negotiations to improve pay, job security and work-life balance.
Represented by road transport and aviation workers union TWU Australia, the airline’s cabin crew claim that sub-par work conditions including long shifts, missed breaks, and unrealistic turnaround times, are causing members fatigue both on and off the job.
More than 1,000 Virgin Australia cabin crew have voted in favor of a 24-hour stoppage unless the carrier makes an acceptable offer.
The ballot received a 90% participation rate, with 99% voting yes to 24-hour stoppages.
TWU National Secretary Michael Kaine told a number of Australian media outlets that the vote results indicate that employees have “reached the end of their tether”.
“Protected industrial action is always a last resort, but after three difficult years of wage freezes and punishing rosters to see Virgin roar back to profit,” Kaine said.
“It’s time for owners Bain Capital to show workers their concerns are understood and fix key issues driving high turnover and chronically low morale. Hollow words from executives in virtual town halls when respect is not being shown in action at the table is adding insult to injury as the busiest time of year approaches,” Kaine continued.
Kaine further added that workers need reasonable rosters, decent hours, better work-life balance, and crucial job security guarantees.
According to the Daily Telegraph Virgin Australia responded to the possible strike action by offering cabin crew who work in December a AUD 150 ($100) per day bonus.