Virgin Australia flight attendants are being asked to take significant cuts in pay and conditions by Bain Capital to ensure the survival of the airline.
Insiders claim a flight attendant’s base salary is being slashed from A$61,179 to A$49,929 with new starters at just A$45,526, while shifts are moving from 9.45 hrs to 12 hrs to allow for transcontinental returns eliminating high overnight accommodation costs.
Other perks are being trimmed or eliminated as Bain, which purchased the airline out of administration for A$3.50 billion, cuts costs to survive in the new COVID-19 world.
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One such perk that is going is a A$125 overnight allowance with most averaging 10 overnights a month.
Part-time flight attendants appear to be particularly targeted it is alleged.
Insiders say the new agreement would see them effectively go from being paid around A$40,000 a year for 70 hours a month to working up to 135 hours per 28 days for the same salary, which equates to about A$24,000 year or about A$25 an hour.
The cuts have upset flight attendants with over half commenting on a staff Facebook page that they would have taken voluntary redundancy if they had known of the severity of the cuts.
The new Enterprise Agreement is to be settled by October 31.
Pilots at the Perth-based Virgin Australia Regional Airlines are also being targeted with Bain striving to get the pay and conditions in line with its competitors in the very competitive FIFO market.
A Virgin Australia spokesperson said: “The Virgin Australia Group has commenced negotiations with team members and unions for a number of Enterprise Agreements which have now expired and are due to be renegotiated.
“The changes we are seeking will shape a future for our airline that is sustainable for the long term and will mean we can save more jobs. The COVID-19 pandemic has decimated our industry and the impacts are expected to last for a number of years, and this makes the need for change even greater.
“Labour is one of our biggest costs as an airline, and we are targeting all areas of our business to reset our cost base and get the certainty we need to be able to plan for our future flying schedule when demand returns.
“We look forward to continuing to work constructively with the unions to determine the best outcome for our team members and the business.”