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The Virgin Strike Thread II

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The Virgin Strike Thread II

Old 23rd Dec 2007, 10:37
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Makingasplash

I understand that if you take PPRuNe as the negotiation position of Unite, then it may seem disjointed. However, it will be the senior stewards position and views that will be put to VS at this stage. They will understand all of the wants of the crew and will also understand what is or is not achievable. This may have been the position before, but each crew member now has the fact that a strike has been called and it is real.

Unite have been involved in loads of industrial disputes over the years and will know how much a mandate 1500 no vote will have given them. If all 1500 who voted to strike are all flying on that day then VS does not operate. Likewise, if none of the 1500 are working, its business as usual. But the real fear is the unknown figure of how many others who did not vote will act? It could be another 1000 strikers. It may be none.

This is the first call to action in Virgins history. How many of the senior management team have been in this before? How many Unite negotiators have? That is where the experience is. If ACAS are called in, who has the experience in working with them? Will both sides agree to a mutually binding result? Who knows!
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Old 23rd Dec 2007, 10:58
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First, let me say that I have no axe to grind one way or another in this dispute, but ...
If all 1500 who voted to strike are all flying on that day then VS does not operate.
that is a very large assumption indeed, that all those who vote for strike will actually strike.

In the next couple of weeks, a large an concentrated campaign will be launched by VS management directed at each individual cabin crew member pointing out what the implications are of the proposed actions. What may and may not happen re jobs etc. They will also point out that crew who want to come to work will be able to park at xyz place, away from normal crew car parking and that there will be no picket presence allowed there and furthermore that crews will be escorted into report in blacked out buses etc, ie their anonymity will be preserved from Unite.

If it gets to a strike, then I would expect a hard core militant picket group numbering less than 100, and a very large sickie being thrown by the majority, and some (but not many) reporting for work.

The strike will probably disintegrate within a couple of days as people drift back to work as they see aircraft departing.

The timing of the action could not be much better for VS - January is traditionally a low yield month and Q3 at most airlines is often the weakest.

Following on from that, the end of January will see all those credit card bills coming home to roost and it will probably be 5 1/2 weeks since the previous pay check (and with reduced allowances in hand dut to the strike).

BALPA puts out advance guidance for families and potential strikers to have about 3 months of expenses put aside to cover any dispute - have Unite given any advice to their lower-paid members who can less afford to see a drop in income?

Having seen various actions such as this before, I wish you all well - I believe you'll need it.
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Old 23rd Dec 2007, 11:26
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Nice summary, TopBunk, I would agree with much of that.

If it gets to a strike, then I would expect a hard core militant picket group numbering less than 100, and a very large sickie being thrown by the majority, and some (but not many) reporting for work.
The one point to bear in mind from that, and has been raised on CabinCrew.com, if you call in sick (when you are actually healthy), just to avoid working on the days of the strike, you would be getting sick pay when you'd actually be entitled to nothing. That would be committing a criminal offence because you'd be 'obtaining money by deception'.

An easy reason Virgin could use to instantly dismiss those taking part in strike action but claiming sickness. And I don't doubt that they will be checking every case very, very carefully.
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Old 23rd Dec 2007, 11:31
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TopBunk

1500 people voted no. not just 100 militants as you put it. If these 1500 were so unsure, then perhaps they may not have voted, like the other 1000 members.

Did you read on and see that in the NEXT sentence I said - Likewise, if none of the 1500 are working, its business as usual.

It is a shame that you do not trust crew members to have already worked out the implications of going on strike. Who says that everyone has not made provision for a couple of days action?
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Old 23rd Dec 2007, 11:32
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If they are not allowed then why did they?
Lightbulbs,

This simply isn't a point worth arguing. You are saying those that strike should be the only ones to benefit *if* VS get back around the table and negotiate a better deal. Look at it from VS's point of view - they'd much rather be rewarding the staff that didn't strike, so they are hardly likely to pay staff that tried to damage the airline more than those that didn't.

But, regardless of that, if you have two people of the same seniority and doing the same job, an employer can't pay one more than the other if the *only* reason is union membership. They can pay individual staff more based on responsibility, length of service, training, experience and all number of factors, but they can't discriminate based on things like race, creed, sex or union membership.
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Old 23rd Dec 2007, 11:33
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vs lhr

That counts for any day!
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Old 23rd Dec 2007, 11:35
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Well written Topbunk,

I too am in the union and voted to strike.... only because i do believe that fellow crew members who have been there way longer before me deserve a descent wage, it goes without saying i have been in the Co for under a year i knew what i was going to get when i joined, but i am supporting those who have been here longer because they do deserve something........... However unfortunatley i will have to go into work when the strike is on, call me two faced, but if i decided to not go in and strike, the 4 days of work that i should of done will reflect significanlty in my wages and currently bringing home just under 850 per month based on 6 flights and trip pay, will be crippling to my outgoing if i end up with roughly 200 less in my pay packet, which i just will never get back.

In simple terms i just cannot afford to go on strike because it will just affect my monthly outgoings of over 1800 a month (hubbies help with mortgage) and i just won't never be able to recover the money i lost. I feel so two faced but having spoken to many other crew in my situation they agree that we are stuck in a rut, we strike because we are not being paid enough, but if we don't work we will get penalised heavily and so have no option but to work.

i await the firing of guns now!!!!!!
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Old 23rd Dec 2007, 11:36
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1500 people voted no. not just 100 militants as you put it. If these 1500 were so unsure, then perhaps they may not have voted, like the other 1000 members.

Did you read on and see that in the NEXT sentence I said - Likewise, if none of the 1500 are working, its business as usual.

It is a shame that you do not trust crew members to have already worked out the implications of going on strike. Who says that everyone has not made provision for a couple of days action?
Who's to say their reason for voting for the Strike wasn't because (as was touted here, there and everywhere), Virgin simply wouldn't let it go to a strike, and Dicky would step in with bundles of fivers if the vote was yes.

Well, the vote was yes, and the company is preparing for a fight. You cannot say for certain that all 1500 who voted yes still have the stomach for a fight, and the implications that would have on their pay packets. Two 48-hour strikes, especially when the company is confident of the marginal impact, will not bring VS back to the table. It's going to take much more action. Can all 1500 still afford that?
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Old 23rd Dec 2007, 12:09
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Vs Lhr

Well, the vote was yes, and the company is preparing for a fight. You cannot say for certain that all 1500 who voted yes still have the stomach for a fight, and the implications that would have on their pay packets. Two 48-hour strikes, especially when the company is confident of the marginal impact, will not bring VS back to the table. It's going to take much more action. Can all 1500 still afford that?


THIS IS EXACTLY THE REASON WHY ALL UNITE MEMBERS( NO MATTER HOW THEY PREVIOUSLY VOTED ) MUST STAND UP AND BE COUNTED NOW THAT STRIKE IS IMMENENT.
WITH A STRONG PRESCENCE AT PICKET LINES VS MUST BE READY TO COME BACK AND NEGOTIATE
I FOR ONE WOULD LIKE OUR EMPLOYER TO START NEGOTATIONS A.S.A.P
TO PREVENT ANY DISPUTE
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Old 23rd Dec 2007, 12:35
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THIS IS EXACTLY THE REASON WHY ALL UNITE MEMBERS( NO MATTER HOW THEY PREVIOUSLY VOTED ) MUST STAND UP AND BE COUNTED NOW THAT STRIKE IS IMMENENT.
WITH A STRONG PRESCENCE AT PICKET LINES VS MUST BE READY TO COME BACK AND NEGOTIATE
I FOR ONE WOULD LIKE OUR EMPLOYER TO START NEGOTATIONS A.S.A.P
TO PREVENT ANY DISPUTE
It depends on your view. Obviously thoughts are polarised on both camps at the moment. Strikers need the full support of all who voted yes (and perhaps a little more, if they are truly to upset the VS scheduling which is working to avoid disruption). The management need as many people as possible to report for duty - including those 1000 who voted neither way.

Taking the macro view, there is more pressure on employees as the impact on their wages is more significant than a few cancelled flights to the company. For the strike to be effective, not only do all union members need to stand together, but it will need more than just the 4 days of action currently planned. What I doubt, given the fragmented nature of the vote and the unclear picture of what deal people are fighting for, is whether the majority of crew have the stomach for a protracted dispute.
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Old 23rd Dec 2007, 12:56
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vs lhr

my concerns exactlly rgds will the crew have the stomach..... but if they do not then they will have no one else to blame for poor pay and extra stand by duties.
Hence the reason everyone must stand together to improve our pay to acceptable levels
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Old 23rd Dec 2007, 13:11
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To All Unite CC Members at Virgin Atlantic

Virgin Atlantic Strike Action Update



  • Unite balloted 3,137 cabin crew members at Virgin Atlantic.
  • 72% of all members who returned their ballot voted for strike action.
  • Strike action will initially consist of 2 x 48 hour stoppages.
  • The first stoppage will take place from 0600 hours on Wednesday 9th January 2008 to 0600 on Friday 11th January 2008.
  • The second stoppage will take place from 0600 hours on Wednesday 16th January to 0600 on Friday 18th January 2008.
  • All 3,137 Unite Cabin Crew members are now expected to participate in the strike action.
  • Your right to participate in strike action is protected under Section 234(a) of the Trade Union Labour Relations (Consolidated) Act 1992.
  • Unite has begun mobilising for strike action. All relevant literature, posters, flyers, badges, placards, etc. have been produced and contact has been made with the relevant authorities.
  • Peaceful protests/picketing will take place on 9th, 10th, 16th and 17th January 2008.
  • This will be co-ordinated in the run up to the action and we are currently exploring the most appropriate establishments to highlight the protests.
  • Confirmation of these establishments will be made known to our members prior to the action taking place.
  • Maximum support by all Unite members available to participate in the protest is essential.
  • Unite will further update our members on 4th January 2008. Unite members do not need to do anything else in the meantime.
  • We have always stated that we would be prepared to meet if the company wishes to engage in further discussions.
  • The company may attempt to undermine our efforts during the forthcoming period. They have failed to do this up to now and we are sure you will not be unsettled by any further attempts by the company in this respect.
  • Your support from the outset of this dispute has been crucial. With your continued support we are certain that an agreeable resolution can be found.
  • Finally, you have given Virgin Atlantic a consistent message throughout this dispute. It is now time for them to listen!!



Brian Boyd
Unite National Officer
Civil Air Transport
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Old 23rd Dec 2007, 13:21
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Litebulb

1500 people voted no. not just 100 militants as you put it. If these 1500 were so unsure, then perhaps they may not have voted, like the other 1000 members.

Did you read on and see that in the NEXT sentence I said - Likewise, if none of the 1500 are working, its business as usual.

It is a shame that you do not trust crew members to have already worked out the implications of going on strike. Who says that everyone has not made provision for a couple of days action?
I do not think that you understand the human pysche very well.

Striking/not working and picketing are very different animals. OK, so 1500 voted for strike action; how many do you think will actually have their faces seen and photographed by VS on the picket line - for sure that is what will happen. What happens then in future, the management know who the 'trouble makers' are and they may well be 'marked' people.

That fact will deter many from being on the picket line, hence my comment of '100 militants'.

There is already a poster above saying that they voted yes to strike, but won't due to financial reasons.

There is a big difference between putting a tick in a box to strike and actually walking out (as opposed to calling in sick).

The no(n)-voters are unlikely to strike, but may well go sick instead. Ok, you could argue that it has the same affect in that people are not at work, but the company will see it as a lack of solidarity.

Be in no doubt, the propaganda campaign will unnerve and terrify the young cabin crew members who may think right now that it is a laugh when they are in a group; but when sitting at home with a 120 phone bill, 500 rent to pay and 1000 on the credit cards from Xmas, there will be many people in tears and calling the company in desperation.

It's not a question as to whether or not I trust crew members who have voted yes, I am irrelevant in what happens as I have no vested interests as I work for BA.

All I am doing is pointing out the likely roadmap for the next days and weeks so that you may be aware of the possibilities and think through the implications/consequences.
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Old 23rd Dec 2007, 15:18
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but when sitting at home with a 120 phone bill, 500 rent to pay and 1000 on the credit cards from Xmas,
sorry dont earn enough to get 1000 on the credit card, must be nice though

As for calling the company in desperation, I honestly dont think so. I do agree however that being on a picket line and striking are 2 different things. One you dont have to get out of your bed for the other you do, so in essence you dont technically have to walk out, more - walk in
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Old 23rd Dec 2007, 15:36
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Rubyrocks,

I understand your post, having only joined in March it is perhaps hard for you to appreciate what has happened to our conditions over the years in the airline (I dont mean to sound condescending and apologise if I do). The 3rd long post on this thread taken from cabincrew,com summaries it beautifully. Being a 28 year old living in London I fully understand your plight regarding having to come to work due to financial constraints, however the big picture is this is the very thing we are tying to improve so that we dont have to live perhaps quiet so hand to mouth.

You obviously feel it is worth being a union member so soon in your career with the airline which is great news, you obviously also appreciate that they are there to protect us in various matters. What weight do you feel the union will have in any further negotiations in years to come if its members do not back them now ?

I know you are thinking about tomorrow and can you pay this bill and that bill, but what about next year and the year after, this is long term planning for the future, not just for the month

I refer to a post from cc.com rather than retyping...

Ni Boi

I can honestly see where you are coming from especially as you have only been here a few years ( if by that you mean,not many) If I saw a 4.8% for only a months standby then that is pretty reasonable.

I think one has to look at the general decline in our terms and conditions over the years of late that has led to this situation. There are other departments which felt circa 5 years ago that they were undervalued in comparison to their counterparts in other airlines, their department and union did something about this. Unfortunately whilst we (Royal) felt the same it has taken some time for us and our union to get up to speed to even have any chance of hitting the ground running in order to be able to achieve what the other department achieved. (a package which brought it in line with another major player). We must remember that Virgin fought to prevent us from achieving union recognition in the workplace and it was not all that long ago we achieved it.

Originally posted by ni.boi

I feel "my opinion only" that some crew have got very greedy with this whole situation and I fear that it has gone too far. If VS can operate "which I think they can" then we will get nothin! So then where will we be? back to square one with nothing in our pockets.


Well this is the situation we are in now, the cherry (4.8% offer) that was left on the table to try and sway the ballot did not work, so the 4.8% offer is gone, vamoose see ya. So... what now, well it is exactly as you say above, we are back to square one with nothing in our pockets ( unless we work as a team.)

So what do we do ?

Well you have opted to go to work as normal and that is your choice.
I, on the other hand feel that this is the most momentum the union has EVER had in negotiations since its inception in the company. To just go to work now and not carry through with the strike ? this would destroy the union overnight. Imagine the scenes at the next negotiations, we want this, the company - NO, we want that, the company - NO. In effect they would not fear the power of the union or its right to enforce industrial action as a last resort, why well because we would be a joke, ah yes strike action, we remember that, - last time you threatened it no one striked. All future negotiations would be fruitless unless we are prepared to show that a unified, unionised, workforce sticks together and will not tolerate out terms and conditions continually being attacked in order to maintain the cost of living.

The company is trying to call our bluff and I bet their chins ht the floor with 71%, they expected a NO vote. Those who voted yes to strike must strike, and those who did not are more than entitled to strike (even though they voted against it initially). Perhaps those who voted No to strike did so to preserve the 4.8% offer, it is gone now.

I therefore ask that you might consider the next set of negotiations and how we might fare if we do not stick with the majority now. We are not seeking drastic rises, just fair rises and terms.


It is the united front that will achieve our goals
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Old 24th Dec 2007, 00:30
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This is what get's me - the people who say they cannot afford to go on strike.... D'UH

The reason why people have voted and will go on strike, is because they cannot afford to keep accepting a poor salary .... If you did fight for, and secure a better salary , then you wouldn't have to worry about going on strike, you may have the luxury of having a few extra pounds in your pocket each month, to pay that bill you are worrying about ....

You have a good chance at this guys, virgin pr will go into overdrive now, and its up to you to seek the best advice in what they say and build on a brighter and more deserved future
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Old 24th Dec 2007, 03:38
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Good Luck to the Virgin Cabin Crew, from an occasional passenger, I really do hope you win.....

.....sadly, I think it much more likely you will get creamed!

I'll be delighted (and I mean that) to be proved wrong in due course, but all the signs of an impending disaster are present.

The few crew I've talked to seem blissfully naive or unaware about the management PR blitzkreig that is about to be unleashed upon them by their caring, union-friendly, avuncular, pullover clad, boss.

Will they stand up to the pressure? Not the ones I've met!

I really hope Unite knows what it is doing!
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Old 24th Dec 2007, 10:17
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You have a good chance at this guys
It's very easy to throw out a sentence like that, but unless you offer reasons why you think that way, it's meaningless. Everything I've seen so far suggests the opposite. At the moment, we still don't even know what the crew are striking for. The union not understanding that simple point is why we're in the mess we're in now.
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Old 24th Dec 2007, 14:19
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Lightbulb

2shoes

Good point, hadnt thought about that, so yes each strike will compound the impact of the next set of 48 hour strikes, i.e. snowball (seasonal) effect. That is just based on our ones, add the BAA to the mixer and the snowball has just gone off piste.

incidently did anyone see what the actual numbers were of the outcome of the BAA vote (1946 members voted, 1108 voted yes to strike) less than us.

so

BAA 24 hours 7th Jan (Monday)
Virgin 48 hours 9th-11th (Wed, Thur)
BAA 24 hours 14th Jan (Monday)
Virgin 16th - 18th Jan (Wed, Thu)
BAA 24 hours 17th Jan (Friday)

I wonder how the days were picked, BAA have gone for having a few long weekends and we go for mid week.
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Old 24th Dec 2007, 15:23
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"If the forcested 24 VAA flights are cancelled on 7th jan then hundreds of crew will be downroute an extra night and therefore be entitled to 2 days off on their return to UK(or 3 depending on destination)." {sic}

Why not operate from somewhere non BAA like Luton to avoid the BAA strike? The bus trip would suck but better than not travelling.
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