Go Back  PPRuNe Forums > Other Aircrew Forums > Cabin Crew
Reload this Page >

The Virgin Strike Thread II

Cabin Crew Where professional flight attendants discuss matters that affect our jobs & lives.

The Virgin Strike Thread II

Old 27th Dec 2007, 08:35
  #61 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: London
Posts: 33
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Some people are still saying they need answers to questions like, how much are we asking for if we go to strike action.

PICK UP THE PHONE
Why are these people not utilising the work place reps. Instead of trying to make out that they belong to a St union that doesn't work for the crew. If your that bothered phone a rep for gods sake, everyone else has including me.
vsfsm is offline  
Old 27th Dec 2007, 09:42
  #62 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: UK
Posts: 138
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
My reason for making the comparison was not to compare hours, but to show that someone in the office working 9 - 5 (give or take) with an hour for lunch and a couple of breaks during the day, who has been in the company for less than 5 years, can earn more than someone who has been here in a management role for the last 12 years and who has been very supportive of the company through many many very difficult and trying times!
Comparing any two roles is a red herring. The main reason being the supply of applicants for the cabin crew position is always going to be much greater than for any ground-based job. There has to be, therefore, a value attached to the appeal of a particular job. When you were a kid, you dreamed of being an Astronaut, Train Driver or Air Hostess - I'm pretty sure Call Centre Assistant, Office Cleaner or Sales Rep were pretty low on the childhood priorities list. And as long as there is a queue of applicants around the block, airlines know the remuneration package doesn't have to be pumped up. Looking it from the other side; if the money was the same for FSMs and SEP Instructors, which job would you prefer (or more precisely, which would have more job applicants?).

All positions (and their applications) find their market levels, which is why most of your later argument is irrelevant. Why do SEP instructors who've been at the company less time than an FSM get paid more? Because that's what the company needs to offer in order to attract & retrain enough staff to the job. There isn't a line on your wage slip for being with the company through 'trying times' or a 'supportive bonus', just like there isn't line-items like that on 99.9% of other peoples wage slips.

That said, what the cabin crew negotiation process is doing is attempting to re-adjust the value of crew to the company. Virgin have, up until now, used the attractiveness of the position combined with the attractiveness of the brand to keep the pay low - lets face it, most would rather be crew with Virgin Atlantic than LOT (no offence to LOT crew members, but Virgin has more of a cache).

Where I think this process has mis-stepped is that as long as the supply of applicants for Virgin crew remains (extraordinarily) high, any internal pressure for a major readjustment in salary will meet huge resistance from management. After all, every extra 100 per month paid to crew (roughly 5% increase, on average), will cost the company around 6m per year inc. National Insurance. Virgin reported a pre-tax profit of 41.6m last year, and that money has to pay shareholder dividends, invest in future growth and protect themselves against future costs such as fuel, etc. That means every 100 increase the crew get per month is costing around 15% of the companies profitability before tax. Not a decision they can take lightly, and not money they can simply take from the Virgin Group or Branson - business doesn't work like that, and if the company can't generate the cash to pay its own bills, it's unsustainable. Think about it - a huge queue of people wanting to work as cabin crew (even at current wages), and a minority (ok, 30% is a large minority) of incumbent staff wanting to push for an as-yet-unknown (but larger than 5%) increase.

So, the company is understandably very resistant to large additional (and ongoing) costs on the bottom line. That's why gradual changes upward, such as advocated by the pilots, would have been a much more sensible way of increasing the pay deal over time. The company would have had more time to absorb and adapt to the new costs.

There's been very emotional arguments about how hard crew work, and how much more they deserve. I don't doubt that they do; but the cold reality is that many people work hard and deserve better deals, but their employers simply can't afford it.
vs_lhr is offline  
Old 27th Dec 2007, 10:33
  #63 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: Gatwick
Posts: 1,975
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
vs lhr

This is where the problem is. When you put crew pay below every other cost within your business, you are heading for trouble. Sorry, you have arrived at trouble. The cost of lost business due to industrial action will have to be judged against the cost of a pay rise (whether is % rise or lifestyle) and its future cost.

Obviously, the glam appeal of working for Virgin is wearing/has definitely worn off of 1500 crew and who knows how many others. This needs to be fixed. It is as costly today as any future oil price increases or investment in the future.

You have to pay for oil, you have to pay airport fees, you have to pay your staff. If the first two go up, it does not mean that the last one has to stay where it is.
Litebulbs is offline  
Old 27th Dec 2007, 11:39
  #64 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: London
Posts: 57
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
vs lhr, I hear what you're saying but I don't agree that SEP instructors or other office based staff earn more to attract people to the job. People who flew go to those jobs because they want to be on the ground and still be associated with flying and have the opportunity to fly occasionally. I can understand that Virgin get away with offering a low salary for new crew as a result of the huge number of applications that they receive for the job, however, after 10 years + with the comany, the crew deserve to be rewarded for their service and dedication with a decent salary. I have put up with that low salary for over 20 years as have many others and we have always given 100% and put up with it because we enjoyed our jobs. As VS has grown from a tiny 2 aircraft company with a couple of routes to a huge international airline which rivals and competes with major carriers like BA and United, we remain 'one of the' lowest paid crews and our dedication, support and long service has NEVER been rewarded!

I want to keep flying for Virgin as I enjoy it and the perks that go with it, but they're squeezing me out because I just cannot afford to live on my salary anymore and I DO save my allowances, I have to!! The UK is one of the most expensive countries in the world to live in, yet VS, think that keeping salaries low is acceptable because they 'can'! Well they can't any more, it's no longer acceptable and whilst all the other manager's in the office earn 'decent' money, FSM/CSS's both of who are managers, are kept on a lower salary cos they're easily replacable as Branson once said and I believe it because we are simply not shown any rewards for long service or dedication so it's obvously true. Experience and dedication as a crew member is simply not valued!! 5 an hour delay pay for goodenss sake and even after an extended delay on a 10 hour flight there is still no guarantee of a rest for the crew during that time cos there's no permanent arrangement for rest in place, it's totally at the FSM's discretion. Which other crew in the world does a 10 hour night flight without giving their crew guaranteed rest? I don't know of any and I do know many crew who work for other airlines worldwide. Think how you feel as a passenger when you get off a night flight and you've been in a seat all night relaxing if not sleeping, think how long it takes you to get over your jet lag. Well we change time zones 5 or six times a month and about 1 out of every two flights we do is a night flight. Whilst FSM's do their best to arrange a rest for the crew, sometimes, especially when crew down, there simply isn't time. And also remember, we don't have a dedicated time to eat either, we have to grab a bite, normally standing up, when we have a free minute which is normally at least 4 hours into the flight. It's an insult to our intelligence, 10 for going 1 crew member short on a flight (before tax) 10 for working up a rank even though you have no training to do that but are expected to do it to cover when the company cannot crew the flight correctly! Going as many as 3 crew down on some flights which isn't that rare because of crew shortages. On those flights there is definitely no rest either way and you work twice as hard as normal to cover the shortage, do you ever even get a letter of thanks from anyone? Can you imagine a BA flight going 3 crew down? It just wouldn't happen, they rarely go one crew member down!!

This isn't the dark ages anymore, being crew is a great job but it's very very hard. It's no longer glam like in the 60's and 70's, it's a really hard job and that's why the turn over of newer crew is so high, because so many just can't deal with the long hours, night flights, jet lag, dealing with very difficult passengers, SEP etc etc etc. We work bloomin hard and it's time we were rewarded with a 'decent' salary that compared well to other office based staff,not around 5K lower than many!!

Last edited by 016FSM; 27th Dec 2007 at 12:05.
016FSM is offline  
Old 27th Dec 2007, 12:01
  #65 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: UK
Posts: 138
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
016FSM,

I don't disagree with you, but unfortunately many of the arguments you present are emotional ones, and cut no mustard with the cold logical reasoning that management are faced with. Virgin has cut-throat competition in BA, and even more muscling into its turf with open skies, so therefore can't and won't pay a penny more than it needs to. Employers rarely pay 'loyalty bonuses', 'dedication rewards' or 'long-time service supplements' - they pay what they can get away with, and for cabin crew, the rather sad reality is they can get away with very little (and that's mostly due to the fact there's always more applicants than jobs). I don't say I agree with that as a policy, and - frankly - it's rather a short-term view; but if your objective is to keep costs to a minimum, then salaries are an obvious target. Look at how the penny-pinching has removed practically anything from the cabins that's not essential to save weight. I mean, they even took the vase of flowers off the J bar because it saved weight!

I do strongly believe, that crew would have got a better result by taking the 4.8% offer and sorting out the union to be better prepared for 18 months time. As it stands, the crew and company will both loose out of this dispute, and employees around the organisation are fragmented by both sides of the argument. Have you noticed the atmosphere since the strike vote was announced? Thank good it's illegal to carry weapons!

So, I sit here wondering what on earth can be rescued from the current situation. The management cannot afford to give into strike demands (as it really would set a dangerous precedent for future negotiations), and crew cannot back down because it will mean no pay deal. Either way, this is the saddest point in Virgin's history.
vs_lhr is offline  
Old 27th Dec 2007, 12:15
  #66 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: London
Posts: 57
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I agree whole heartedly with you vs lhr, it's very sad. I know how much they've removed from the aircraft, we're the one's who have to tell Upper Class they can't have a spare pillow or blanket cos we don't carry them, or they cant have their first choice of meal cos we've run out. But at the end of the day, we go to work to earn money and we are the lowest paid department in the company and we simply cannot go on feeling sorry for the company cos things are so tough!

How about freezing the salaries of other management in the Co for a few years, see what happens then! I do believe that this is going to be a very tough an dark time for the company, but why should we be walked over any longer? Other employees are condeming us for our actions, but meanwhile, the vast majority of them are earning more than we are, maybe they should take a salary cut so that we can earn a little bit more!
016FSM is offline  
Old 27th Dec 2007, 12:22
  #67 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: Gatwick
Posts: 1,975
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
If you have a dispute now or in 18 months, you will still have a dispute.
Litebulbs is offline  
Old 27th Dec 2007, 12:37
  #68 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: UK
Posts: 138
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
No, you have a negotiation now, and then again in 18 months. And then again a year after that. The dispute part of this was entirely optional, and to my mind, a part of this negotiation we could have all done without. I lay the blame for that at the union for not understanding what the crew want - and still do not know what they want.
vs_lhr is offline  
Old 27th Dec 2007, 12:44
  #69 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: crawley
Posts: 22
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Virgin has cut-throat competition in BA
Just heard yesterday how much the BA crew take on an NRT in comparison to us.. sickening (more than montly pay packet for one trip), no one should be fored to leave employer, but the employees can expect/demand equal terms as paid by other market leader (as Vrigin is trying to be). Take for example a Virgin workgroup who demanded they be paid as much as their equivalents in another airline - one of which is cut throat competition.

If you have a dispute now or in 18 months, you will still have a dispute.
Especially when other departments pay rises get announced after our dipsute is complete.
VCCM is offline  
Old 27th Dec 2007, 12:54
  #70 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: UK
Posts: 138
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
VCCM,

It's not a fair argument to compare like for like with other employers, as the conditions, size, brand and many other factors will never be the same - and, (whether you like it or not), if you want exactly the same deal / conditions / etc as BA, EasyJet, El Al or Qantas then the simple answer is you should be working for them. If you feel the red uniform has lost its lustre, then don't break the airline trying to change it to be BA, EasyJet, El Al or Qantas.

Yes, Virgin pay below the industry curve, and the 4.8% offer was a step in the right direction.
vs_lhr is offline  
Old 27th Dec 2007, 13:21
  #71 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: crawley
Posts: 22
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
but the gap is getting bigger.....

4.8% would be a step in the right direction if it came without sacrifice i.e. conditions.

I fail to see how one set of Virgin employees may argue they are not fairly rewarded in comparison to a market leader yet another group may not.

I love the red, but am sick of being in the red (financially) and I should not have to give years of seniority to keep my head above water.

Virgin has stayed behind the curve for too long, each year that every airline increases pay by e.g. 3% the difference in monetary value (take home) between us and our competitors increases simply because 3% increase for us is considerably less than a 3% increase for our competitors. i.e. we get further and further behind the curve each year.

There needs to be a serious adjustment to bring us back in line, be it basic or increases trip pay who knows, I would advocate serious increases in trip pay rather than basic in order to reduce sickness.
VCCM is offline  
Old 27th Dec 2007, 13:23
  #72 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: Gatwick
Posts: 1,975
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
vs lhr

So in your mind, there is no such thing as a career? If you don't like it leave? People have shown brand loyalty and have through hard work, gained positions of responsibility. That is a 10 year process. It is also 10 years of hearing that there isn't any money.

Are the planes empty? No. That must mean the business model is wrong as almost all other carriers in the UK pay a bit to a great deal more. The Virgin product is not cheap in cost or image. So how the turnover is spent is down to the Directorship and Management alone. This is why the return in profit is where it is. The business is either viable, or it is not. I believe it is, so it is the way it is managed that is the problem.

Keeping staff pay costs at the bottom of the industry gives a short term gain, but leads Virgin to where it is now, in an industrial dispute over pay, with strike action within a couple of weeks. Who knows what that cost will be?
Litebulbs is offline  
Old 27th Dec 2007, 13:35
  #73 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Nov 1999
Location: UK
Posts: 285
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
How about this as food for thought....
I work for BA and operated a Bangkok flight recently. We left LHR 4 hours late due to a tech problem. The cabin crew all received whats called a 'Box 5' payment for the duty day. It turned out that the payment for maincrew was 530, that's just for it being a long day, and all of that delay was spent drinking coffee in the report centre, not on the aeroplane!
That 530 is just for that sector and doesn't include any allowances or any of the other 3 sectors on the trip. It beggars belief, you really have to make a stand, because crew at other airlines are way, way ahead of you in money and lifestyle.

Last edited by fruitbat; 27th Dec 2007 at 20:08.
fruitbat is offline  
Old 27th Dec 2007, 13:37
  #74 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: May 2000
Location: Camp X-Ray
Posts: 2,135
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
But then everyone knows the crew at BA are grossly overpaid.
Hand Solo is offline  
Old 27th Dec 2007, 13:56
  #75 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: UK
Posts: 138
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Lightbulbs,

Careers as crew appear to be rare things, if the average is 18 months in the job (perhaps that's how long it take people to realise it isn't all about jetsetting and glamour! )

Planes may not be empty all the time, but there is always downward pressure on pricing. At the same time as fuel costs, landing fees and servicing ever-growing demands of passengers go up, fares go down; so you're looking at return N class fares at 99 to North America (the taxes being more than the revenue to VS). 99 to JFK and back is less than 1.5p per mile.

You can't second-guess the finances of the company just because the planes you've crewed have been busy. All we can do is look at the reported profit (<42m last year pre-tax), and the expected increase in cost of the crew pay demand (which we don't know for sure, because no-one seems to know exactly what it is the crew want). Virgin management obviously believe their last offer was the best their were prepared to afford, hence why they're not rushing back to the negotiating table.

Criticise them all you like, but they have the full picture, and I'll trust their judgement a helluva lot more at running an airline than a member of crew. No disrespect, it's just that your experience is geared toward great onboard service, and theirs is in using their best judgement in running a business. Both you and they will make mistakes occasionally, but the reason you both do the jobs you do is because you're reasonably good at it.
vs_lhr is offline  
Old 27th Dec 2007, 14:12
  #76 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: UK
Posts: 117
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
If you do not like the terms offered....

I am afraid that it is exactly as stated by others. If you do not like the terms offered by Virgin then seek employment elsewhere. Only if enough decide to leave will the message get through but then for those of you who have left it is too late. You can never go back in life. As long as there are sufficient others coming along who wish to work for Virgin the terms and conditions within reason will not change.
I would turn to the Union and ask them what in their view they can do for you. You pay them enough and their pay is unaffected. It seems at the moment that all they can suggest is a strike - well, they would wouldn't they?
Only when there is a clear shortage of cc will the airline change its terms and conditions significantly. Certainly a strike will do the company damage but you have to ask yourselves how do they recover from that? Lay off staff? Reduce routes? Reduce frequencies? Perhaps they want staff to leave voluntarily at the higher rates of pay to permit them to take on more younger, enthusiastic and CHEAPER cc.
At the moment it looks like a lose/lose situation. Sorry to be so negative but if you look at it practically you will see that strike action is just not worth the cost to any cc member. Also remember that the whole industry is facing enormous challenges over the ridiculous "carbon footprint " fiasco and there is certain to be some thinning down of operators. My final advice. Stay where you are and bite the bullet. If you have a job you enjoy then get on with it, enjoy it and see what happens in this coming year that is, in my view, going to be very turbulent for the industry.
interpreter is offline  
Old 27th Dec 2007, 14:36
  #77 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Nov 1999
Location: UK
Posts: 285
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
This argument of 'if you don't like it then leave' is a little immature. Everyone has the right to work for an honest wage and be benchmarked to similar professionals doing the same job.

If the company won't reward you for your loyalty and hard work, the last step is to strike. It's a nasty process but you have to stand up and be counted eventually.

BA cabin crew are notoriously militant, and in the last strike ballot achieved a 96 percent vote in favour of a strike. I don't think it's right to behave the way they do, but the proof is in the pudding, look at their T's and C's...

As they say in the States, 'if you're specialised, get unionised'....
fruitbat is offline  
Old 27th Dec 2007, 14:55
  #78 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: May 2000
Location: Camp X-Ray
Posts: 2,135
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Be careful what you wish for. The BA cabin crew achieved 96% in favour of a strike but walked away with nothing.
Hand Solo is offline  
Old 27th Dec 2007, 15:38
  #79 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: UK
Posts: 138
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
This argument of 'if you don't like it then leave' is a little immature. Everyone has the right to work for an honest wage and be benchmarked to similar professionals doing the same job.
You may have a choice where you work, but it not up to the employee to dictate the terms and conditions of employment.

Virgin make no secret of the package they offer. If that is not suitable go elsewhere rather than attempt to bring down the company. Sorry if it's a message you don't want to hear - but if you want the same deal as BA, go work for them.
vs_lhr is offline  
Old 27th Dec 2007, 15:38
  #80 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: UK
Posts: 117
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
fruitbat..

I speak from many years of business experience. What do you truly hope to achieve? Get the company over a barrel? To what end? If the company decides at a board meeting to make improvements that will cost them money they will also have to consider how to make savings. What do you think will come to them first in the "ideas box" as an immediate economy? Staffing levels of course. How can we reduce our operating costs?
I would say to any employee in any company if you feel that an essential section of the staff are underpaid against market comparisons then first of all determine why. If there are plenty of substitutes available - and as I understand it there are - then start looking around: look around from within your job and dont do anything silly such as resigning.
Very, very few people get what they expect out of a strike - some will, to be sure but others will have to pay the price. Tell your Union leaders to get back to the negotiating table with concrete affordable suggestions that the Company might accept. At least it keeps the pot boiling and the Company on their toes. Good luck
interpreter is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell or Share My Personal Information

Copyright © 2023 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.