Virgin Australia Expressions of Interest open today, Friday 21 August.

Posted on August 21, 2020

Since Virgin publicly announced significant job losses on 5 August, your ASU representatives have been involved in extensive negotiations where we have tried to make the restructure process as fair and transparent as possible for Guest Services employees.

We are holding a meeting for ASU members to go through your questions in detail at 7:00PM on Monday 24 August. You can register for that meeting here.

We have been able to make some significant improvements to the proposal originally made by Virgin. These include: convincing them to significantly improve the staff travel benefit for employees who are made redundant, and creating an option where staff who are made redundant can remain employed until April 2021 and access JobKeeper.

The information we have about the ‘Expression of Interest’ process is below.

An overview

  • EOIs open today, Friday 21 August, and close at 6:00pm Thursday 6 September.
  • EOIs are not binding on either employees or management – if you indicate an interest in a voluntary redundancy you can change your mind before you accept a final offer, but there is also no guarantee you will be made redundant if you express an interest. 
  • Virgin has advised that it expects to make 276 employees (or 184 FTE) redundant from Guest Services through this process. 
  • Leave and service will not accrue during leave without pay (LWOP).
  • Disrupt coordination will be centralised, rather than being completed by GS5s at the airport.

The options 

1. Voluntary redundancy

Option A – Voluntary redundancy with a finish date of 3 October.

  • Will be paid redundancy pay and notice pay (details set out below);
  • Unused annual leave and DILs paid out; and,
  • Access to staff travel (details below), outplacement and Virgin Alumni.

Option B – Voluntary redundancy with a finish date of 3 April.

  • Will be paid JobKeeper which is currently due to end on 27 March 2021 (subject to being eligible under Government rules); 
  • Will be paid redundancy pay (details set out below, no notice pay for this option);
  • Unused annual leave and DILs paid out;
  • Access to staff travel (details below), outplacement and Virgin Alumni; and,
  • You will be on leave without pay and not accruing leave or service from 3 October 2020.

2. Leave without pay (LWOP)

Option A – 12 months LWOP from 4 October 2020 to 3 October 2021

  • Will be paid JobKeeper which is currently due to end on 27 March 2021 (subject to being eligible under Government rules);
  • Will not accrue leave or service while on LWOP; and,
  • At the end of 12 months you will return to the “available to work” pool. If there is not enough work available at the time the workers in the “available to work” pool may be invited to take further LWOP or there may be further redundancies. 

Option B – 24 months LWOP from 4 October 2020 to 3 October 2022

  • Will be paid JobKeeper which is currently due to end on 27 March 2021 (subject to being eligible under Government rules);
  • Will not accrue leave or service while on LWOP; and 
  • At the end of 24 months you will return to the “available to work” pool. If there is not enough work available at the time the workers in the “available to work” pool may be invited to take further LWOP or there may be further redundancies.

3. Available for work

  • It is currently unclear how much work will be available for employees who select this option, and Virgin has not yet determined how the work will be allocated. 
  • Once the EOI process is complete Virgin will provide more information on how the work will be allocated. 
  • There may be insufficient work available for the number of employees who select this option and Virgin may consider more redundancies. We have obtained a commitment from Virgin that they will consult with us before they take any further action following the EOI process. 

Redundancy pay in the Enterprise Agreement 

Redundancy pay is made up of 2 elements – a notice period, and redundancy pay. An employer can either give you notice of your employment ending, or can make you a payment ‘in lieu’. That is why Virgin is only paying the notice period to employees who take a voluntary redundancy ending on 3 October. 

For part-time employees, the payments below will be calculated as a week’s pay being 25 hours. 

Notice pay 

**Virgin will only pay this to workers who finish on 3 October. You will not be paid notice if you select the 3 April end date.

Period of continuous service

Notice pay (for employees finishing on 3 October only)

Probationary period

2 weeks

Probationary period – 4 years (inclusive of 4th year)

5 weeks

5 years – 9 years (inclusive of 9th year)

8 weeks

10 years +

12 weeks

Redundancy pay

**All workers who take a voluntary redundancy will receive this payment.

Period of continuous service

Redundancy pay (for all employees taking VR)

0-2 years

4 weeks pay

2-5 years

2 weeks pay per year

5 years+

10 weeks pay, plus 3 weeks per year of service over 5 years

Staff Travel

Employees who take a voluntary redundancy will be able to access standby travel (unlimited for Group 1, Group 1 Extended and 40 sectors for Group 2 per FBT year) for 3 years or a greater period equivalent to years of service with VA, capped at 10 years. 

The process 

  • EOIs open 1pm Friday 21 August, and close at 6pm Thursday 6 September.
  • All staff will be provided a redundancy estimate on 24 August (this will include an estimated period of notice that you need to remember will only be paid if you select a voluntary redundancy ending on 3 October). This estimate does not include any accrued DILs you may have, or annual leave loading that you are entitled to (this is valued at a minimum of 17.5% of your annual leave entitlement).
  • You can change your options during the period that the EOI is open.
  • Once EOIs close Virgin will consider them and then make offers to employees of voluntary redundancy by Monday 7 September. You will have until 13 September to make a final decision as to whether to take the voluntary redundancy. 
  • The ASU will meet with Virgin as soon as possible once EOIs close to understand how many employees have expressed an interest in the various options, and to discuss the next steps.
1800 177 244
members@together.org.au