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The Virgin Strike Thread II

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The Virgin Strike Thread II

Old 29th Dec 2007, 09:30
  #101 (permalink)  
 
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What are the unions doing?

You only have to look at the profits of BA compared to Virgin, the number of aircraft, the number of flight crew and cabin crew to know that Virgin is very much second best - especially as measured by profit per flight/cabin crew member. Unfortunately striking is never a good option but it is grossly affected adversely if the company against whom the strike is taking place is not strong financially - and Virgin in the airline business is NOT.
All the compaints and grouses that emanate from this site may be valid but as with all types of work unless your union leaders can negotiate - and I mean negotiate, not strike for - better terms you have only one option and that is to find another job. BA have all the business economies of scale whereas Virgin does not. In that context I have to say don't strike but grasp your union leaders by the scruffs of their necks and ask them what they think they are doing.
Although a semi-retired businessman I have no connection whatsoever with Virgin or BA but I do know that the ONLY way you will get any lasting improvements is by negotiation - unless of course you don't mind some of your colleagues going to the wall in the aftermath of a financially painful strike for your employer. I still wish you well and have always enjoyed my flights with your airline but I would take a long, deep breath before you strike and I would certainly be on to my union leader RIGHT NOW! Good luck
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Old 29th Dec 2007, 09:44
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I am sad that it has got to this situation, how the management never seen it coming beggars belief
That's an easy one. Virgin management didn't see it coming because at every step, the union gave the impression they had agreement. How the union went into negotiations without first understand what the whole of the membership would accept beggars belief; and even more so that they are pushing the company into industrial action and *still* don't know what the majority of the crew will accept. It would be laughable if it weren't for the fact this is going to cost a lot of people their livelihoods.

Home today to be greeted with a letter from Richard Branson himself, in which he states....

"For some of you more pay than Virgin Atlantic can afford may be critical to your lifestyle and if that is the case you should consider working elsewhere"
i.e. if you thought we would pay you enough to make a career in the airline you are sorely wrong, we dont want old duffers we want school leavers with no backbone who still live at home and have no bills to pay.

Well, that letter has really pi$$ed me - way to go Dick !
Interesting how you can turn that one line into such fantasy. SRB has said, as clearly as he can, that any further offer is unaffordable to the company. (calculations I believe, because the available data supports it). Vocabulary like 'old duffers' old 'no backbone' are simply inflammatory phrases you have introduced to incite emotion. I lose ever-more sympathy with the cabin crew whinging. Maybe it is about time you shipped out. BA deserve you.
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Old 29th Dec 2007, 10:45
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Vs LHR , are you a manager per chance ?

My quote is direct from the letter full of waffle , the bit I chose to quote is the bit that really annoyed me, straight from the letter, not a fantasy. As for nothing more being affordable.... man now he sounds like one of the lying managers that said the company couldnt afford anything more than 2% and hey presto 4.8% with strings

As to the timing of it, it talks about current offers and is dated 28th December. Does he not know the current offer no longer exists as of 20th December ? Did he write it ? finger on pulse ?

Last edited by scoobydooo; 29th Dec 2007 at 10:59.
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Old 29th Dec 2007, 10:48
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I work for Virgin, but not as crew. I voice the following question on behalf of myself and many of my colleagues, who, along with me, are mightily concerned about the threat to our livelihoods that this action is posing.

Presuming that the strike happens, the airline survives more or less intact, but no better offer is made to you, what happens next?
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Old 29th Dec 2007, 11:00
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..more strikes are scheduled until they do listen, through half terms etc etc. As people say Rome was not built in a day.
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Old 29th Dec 2007, 11:07
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Vs LHR , are you a manager per chance ?
No, but I note you are sniffing around your usual modus operandi of accusing anyone who doesn't agree with your opinion of being management or a plant. In fact, you've already asked me; so I suspect you include it here as another attempt.

My quote is direct from the letter full fo waffle , the bit I chose to quote is the bit that really annoyed me, straight from the letter, not a fantasy.
Branson's quote was straight from the letter. Your interpretation is emotive fantasy.

As for nothing mroe being affordable.... man now he sounds like one of the lying managers that said the company couldnt afford anything more than 2% !
So, you clearly believe VS has unlimited resources and able to pay any demand at your whim? If you care to think about the numbers, and look at the impact on the business, you'll realise there has to be a final offer. If, say, the average wage of crew is 15K (across a range of 12K - 22K, weighted toward the bottom), with 4500 crew every 1% is an extra 810K, inc NI the company has to add to its annual budget. That has to be paid for through better efficiencies and cost savings. Perhaps the original offers were the maximum affordable before other savings or concessions are made. There's only a finite amount of that you can do before the bean counters say it's unsustainable - and bear in mind this is an annual cost that grows at a compound rate.

As you're so sure the company can afford more, I'd be interested to hear your numbers. And please don't suggest Branson can dip into his own pocket - what will he do next year, and the year after that? I know, my father bought some shares in BT a few years ago, maybe they can ask him to sell his house to help support an extra couple of percent for telephone engineers.
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Old 29th Dec 2007, 11:11
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Scooby, but what if it is true, there isn't any more money, and the offer never gets any better? What is the plan then?
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Old 29th Dec 2007, 11:34
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What no one, especially those so in favour of industrial action, have stated so far is what it is they are demanding! You either have a specific demand or else you are just striking for the fun of it.

Twice you union reps came to AGREEMENT with the company. Twice, the company came to a negotiated settlement. Twice the membership rejected the recommendation. How can the company be blamed if your union reps weren't representing your views?

After the second vote of no confidence in your reps, they then turn around and call for an industrial action ballot. Since then, not one person has been able to state precisely what it is you are demanding.

I have seen all sorts of individual demands on here but not seen one official one. Does anyone know what it is that you are demanding?

Whilst you have our sympathy for your plight on terms and conditions, you are rapidly losing support because of the total ineptitude of your union and your reps. You had advice on how to go about this and advice on the consequences of going into this action without overwhelming support. You have also been given free advice on the possible outcome of taking this action when you are led by people who you have no confidence in.

It all smacks of a disaster waiting to happen. There will be no winners. The company will lose a lot of money and the cabin crew will lose much more than anything they hope to gain and their cause will be put back many years because of ill prepared and naive people who appear to be incapable of understanding the consequences of their actions.
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Old 29th Dec 2007, 11:52
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Scoobydooo

I agree whole heartedly with you but try not to get drawn into the pro company campaigners who tell us how futile our objectives are. These people range from pilots who's bonuses are under threat, managers who have not received a bonus to avert strike action and other departments who are not happy with 2% when it looks like we will get more.

Dont get sucked in.
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Old 29th Dec 2007, 12:17
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I agree whole heartedly with you but try not to get drawn into the pro company campaigners who tell us how futile our objectives are. These people range from pilots who's bonuses are under threat, managers who have not received a bonus to avert strike action and other departments who are not happy with 2% when it looks like we will get more.
So, basically, disregard the opinions of anyone who doesn't agree with you because you have dollar signs in your eyes, and therefore you have to win, right?

Nope, you won't win, you will permanently scar the company and cost others their jobs. Oh, and please remember while you're slagging off the rest of the company during this dispute, you still have to work with the rest of the company tomorrow. Good luck.
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Old 29th Dec 2007, 12:47
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Thank you vccm

Yes everyone has a different perspective. VSLHR disregard all opinions -nope. Lets take KO's comments no need to comment as his/her post repeats their infrequent previous ones (link available on page 1 to former thread) with valid point, I hope everyone has communicated their grievances to the union through the channels in place.

Your arguments likewise pages and pages of it have been done already. But nice to see you are taking a pop at someone else now (VCCM) who doesn't support the company stance, I used to offer counter debate against most that took company stance, I dont bother anymore as very few if any were actually crew it was persons from other departments or pax.

You now pop anyone that takes union stance let us agree to disagree, you go to work in whatever capacity it is that your work for virgin on the strike days and I wont. You are the opposite of me. period.

I also notice you didnt comment on last thread when shown the company has to negotiate post commencement of industrial action in order to be able to sack anyone after 12 weeks, did you see that reply ? This was your post http://www.pprune.org/forums/showpos...&postcount=368 here was my reply http://www.pprune.org/forums/showpos...&postcount=370

Assuming the crew striking and working as a team achieve better conditions for all cabin crew dont forget to thank them if you are not prepared to be part of the team seeking better terms.

So as VCCM's advice end of subject from me till the 4th when the union sends us more info.
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Old 29th Dec 2007, 13:10
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Just to entertain the maths idea

with 4500 crew every 1% is an extra 810K, inc NI the company has to add to its annual budget
So hypothetically 10% would be 8.1M, that's a lot of money per annum. But when you stop and look at other expenditure over the years is it that much ? The company happily took a 20M hit just in one year last year with Nigeria !! Look at the expenditure in paying overtime rates to flight crew over 750 hours (>20ph.)and others not doing 600 hours, there are lots of areas where funds can be saved and re-allocated.

Yes 10% is extreme but in the grand scheme of things, club house, nigeria, base etc etc it is marginal to ensure a happy efficient workforce. Furthermore the 10% example I would not recommend it all as PAYE (this would further reduce cost as no employers NI) , as suggested before but majoity in trip allowances to try and stop/reduce sickness, make it too expensive to take time off work., would that not please crew and management ?


Toodle pip happy new year.
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Old 29th Dec 2007, 13:38
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I also notice you didnt comment on last thread when shown the company has to negotiate post commencement of industrial action in order to be able to sack anyone after 12 weeks, did you see that reply
I'm sorry, I must have missed that amongst the white noise.

I accept that further negotiation needs to take place, but VS are under no obligation to better their offer - or indeed even offer the same deal as the last one - as they have no obligation to negotiate 'under duress'.

Many are under the impression Virgin have some kind of legal obligation to improve the offer. Simply not correct.
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Old 29th Dec 2007, 14:30
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Even though I am in favour of finally doing something about our pay and conds, I do have to admit that I think Brian Boyd (amicus) has made a total hash of this.

No clear demands have EVER been given to the company, just that we want 'better' pay and conditions, not exactly what we want. And if you believe Steve Ridgeways communication on ifly in which he said Brian Boyd negotiated with the company and they shook hands on a deal only for it to be thrown out by the voting members, shows that the union have no idea what their members are fighting for.

I feel that IF industrial action is to go ahead, it must be done with the union firmly backing you knowing what it is that you're fighting for, the company MUST know exactly down to the last full stop, what we're fighting for and full support from EVERY last member is needed. Nobody is really really sure, just how many will support this strike, how many will go sick and how many will ignore it. It's a bit like Russian roulette, everyone is holding their breath and hoping for the best outcome on both sides!

And furthermore, it could well be that it will all be overshadowed by the BAA strikes anyway, that really will cripple the programme for all carriers. I also believe the those who 'rock the boat' will be singled out in the future, they won't get requests, leave dates, they'll end up working the most unpopular routes, if they sneeze in the wrong direction, they'll be called into the office. Whilst I appreciate the union will always back them, who wants to work in such an environment. Virgin unfortunately is not a particularly forgiving company for those who try to cross them!!

We already have one of the most difficult SEP recurrents of all UK based airlines, I think that could start to get even tougher in coming months and that's something that the union cannot get involved in should you not pass!
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Old 29th Dec 2007, 14:45
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was thinking about the wages bill a bit more, you mentioned 810K per 1%, using my rough (very ) maths i make it more 670K.

lets say 4500 crew and the average crew is 17 per a/c (boeing for ease of numbers)

Assume distribution of crew is 8 x junior, 6 x senior, 2 x CSS, 1 xFSM and assume this through 4500 crew

4500/17 = 264.71 (say 265 for ease of numbers)

cost of crew

265 x 8 x 11,530 = 24,446,600 (with NI contributions extra 1.7M)
265 x 6 x 13679 = 21,749,610 (with NI extra 1.72M)
265 x 2 x 18,259 = 9,677,270 (with NI extra 0.885M)
265 x 1 x 22,972 = 6,087,580 (with NI extra 0.602M)

TOTAL = 61,962,060 say 62 mil per annum on wages plus 4.91M in employer NI total = circa 67Million

ni tables used http://www.e-gismos.com/ukpay.asp

Whats 140K between friends (other than an exuctives bonus)
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Old 29th Dec 2007, 15:46
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Looks like January will be a difficult month for VS, and the BAA strikes will make it worse for them, and everyone else!!
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Old 29th Dec 2007, 16:16
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Scooby,

I like that summary of the wages bill, and more comprehensively thought through than my guesstimate of a 15K average. Your figures for NI are tighter than my initial estimate of 20% (a figure assumed from CBI advice), and perhaps this is because the cost of employing anyone can be up to double their salary, depending on who you ask.
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Old 29th Dec 2007, 16:20
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Can anyone post this letter from SRB as I am away at the moment. Thanks
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Old 30th Dec 2007, 06:59
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Virgin CC superior to BA CC

I don't know whether this will provide any comfort but my wife as an experienced independent travel agent is always receiving complimentary remarks about Virgin cabin services. However, almost without exception BA CC are considered to have a serious attitude problem, be surly and unhelpful and some considered to be old enough to have been CC when BA was Imperial Airways!
If you have a just cause then it is the Union leaders you need to confront and soon and hard!
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Old 30th Dec 2007, 07:34
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Interpreter, I know you are trying to show some support for the Virgin crew but putting BA crew down is not the way to do it. I've worked for both companies and to be truthfully honest, I don't really see that much of a difference with crew and their attitude. There's good and bad in both.

Your claim about Imperial Airways is inaccurate. Until recently, there was a mandatory retirement age of 55. Most of the BEA, BOAC, BCal and Airtours crew have since retired. Are you saying that being mature aged means that you have no right to work in customer service? In that case, I'd better go tell my bank, my supermarket, the post office, my mum, so the management there can make arrangements for them all to be fired.

Another thing to consider is that is that if BA crew seem a little older it is only because as they are paid better, on better terms and conditions, they stay longer and are more inclined to make a career of it. How many current Virgin crew would stay into their 50s is they were paid the same as BA at LHR? I'm sure many would at least consider it. There are plenty of mature staff in the terminal so why not in the air? Virgin is quite proactive about taking seniors on the ground who have been forced to retire from the likes of American and United.

You are also generalising about BA crew. It's not all about LHR. Just ask anyone at LGW at the moment. Look how reducing terms and conditions has worked out for them. Virgin management need to learn from BA's mistakes there. They are always claiming to be a better employer than BA (although I saw little evidence of it) now is their chance to prove it.
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