Featured image: Brandon Farris/Airways

Virgin Australia Pilots Reject Enterprise Agreement

DALLAS — Virgin Australia (VA) pilots reject an enterprise agreement that would have improved compensation and benefits but decreased annual leave days.

The decision to reject the plan stemmed from a Transport Workers Union (TWU) survey conducted in May among 180 Virgin pilots, which revealed that over half of them were likely to resign if the plan to reduce rostered days off was implemented. The pilots were also worried about changes to the airline's rostering system.

In a vote that saw 98% of pilots participate, 61% of them cast ballots against the EA, which had the support of the Australian Federation of Air Pilots (AFAP) in principle. The agreement was not supported by TWU, thus talks will now resume.

The TWU expressed concern about possible effects on fatigue as a result of the planned EBA, which would have reduced pilots' annual vacation days from 156 to 150.

Virgin Australia VH-XFG Airbus A330-243. Photo Brandon Farris/airways

Comments from Union, Airline

Australian Aviation quotes TWU National Secretary Michael Kaine as saying:

“Through months of negotiations, pilots have successfully landed an enterprise agreement that significantly improves pay and conditions after sacrifices were made to get Virgin flying again. This vote shows pilots will not tolerate their legitimate fatigue concerns being ignored or even worsened through the reduction of days off,” he said.

“This vote sends a strong message to Virgin and owners Bain Capital to listen to pilots’ concerns and return to negotiations ready to work together on the constructive solutions already put forward by the TWU Pilots committee. With a few key adjustments, Virgin pilots can very soon have an agreement worth voting for.”

On his part, Alex Scamps, VA's general manager of flight operations and chief pilot said the airline was "disappointed" that the agreement, which includes pay increases of up to 22.6% for captains and up to 24.3% for first officers over three years, was turned down.

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