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The Virgin Strike (or not-actually-a-strike) Thread III

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The Virgin Strike (or not-actually-a-strike) Thread III

Old 7th Jan 2008, 20:52
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It is my understanding that the union may not accept an offer that was voted against by its' members. I would therefore suspect that some element of it has changed..

Vs_lhr yes if the offer is acceptable to all then this is the next step. I presume that is what this commitment to "consultative structure" by both parties is all about.

Crew input must be available as mentioned before and union reps must have time to digest that input, not trying to squeeze it between their hectic rosters, they need a proper amount of days per month to address issues, new ones and back logs.

Any talks/negotiations between unite & VA must be with reps from all sides and management and their gang to ensure that what is being proposed is what the crew have communicated, none of this 2 blokes in a room stuff. Most other airline has open negotiations.
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Old 7th Jan 2008, 21:24
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Unhappy both sides lost the war

Pokergirl

Your union will no doubt let you know what has been accepted EXACTLY.

However, if in doubt, email the union IMMEDIATELY.

Let's face it. There were going to be no winners in this. VS were being panned for poor management practices, the strikers panned for not knowing what was on offer, or what they wanted.

My advice:

Get rid of your reps. They have led you to the brink of destruction. Get the keen, willing and able among you to stand as reps and get real, professional reps training from UNITE.

Then, move forward into the April 2009 negotiations with a clear mandate from your members on WHAT THEY WANT.

Any less and you will be lost again.

Make no bones, both sides backed down here to save face. There were no winners, it was a no score draw.

Your reps must now resign. They have no mandate anymore.
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Old 7th Jan 2008, 22:23
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I don't think strike action would have been sanctioned only at local level so you can't just blame the reps.

This whole episode sums up the inadequacies of unite. Go one further, get rid of them completely. They do not represent my interests, they do not represent your interests........they represent their own interests.
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Old 7th Jan 2008, 22:52
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The thing is, where do you go, if not Unite? The collective groups of Balpa and Unite achieved more for staff the rest of the company achieved. In fact 240% more than the non unionised departments. Ok, you are paying for the privilege of collective bargaining, so that has to be removed from the total gained, but it is still a gain.

What Unite has done, is basically gone along with the vast majority of the balanced non strike arguments on these threads and hopefully plus some (if it is a completely non sell funding strings attached deal). Take what is on the table (although that offer was removed and not to be re offered, yeah, whatever!) agree measures to restructure the way pay is dealt with in the future, remove the damage and fragmentation of what a strike would cause to EVERY employee and move forward.

Blame the reps, blame VS or blame Dickie, it doesn't matter. Bridges will have to be built and for the sake of everyone, progress has to be made.

The biggest worry is you know what the position of the bearded one is now. You work for a company that is about fringe benefits, not pay and a career.

The management team will have to turn this position around. You have to respect the qualities of experience and expertise and what they bring to the product. If you want Virgin to be a YTS (if you are old enough to remember this) product, then suffer the consequences.
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Old 7th Jan 2008, 23:13
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I agree litebulbs.

So then improving communications within the union and its' members.

I would like to see on the Unite site a Virgin Atlantic private forum where any member of the union can ask the reps anything (a pilot showed me the Balpa forums, similar to these).

These forums are not anonymous names, they are your real name, and anyone can ask a question, the beauty is, if someone asks a question the odds are someone else probably want to know the answer too and a database of useful Q&A becomes available.

Granted union reps couldn't answers questions all the time as they have a life too but it would be a good start. Just like here on prune the union and it's reps or other members can setup polls and find out what is important to members as it is not possible to get round everyone. Sure there is no substitute for correspondence the old fashioned way with a regular union update on what's been going on, what the company is asking the union to change and this would be welcome to people who dont have pc's or the time to check, but the beauty of forums is the 2 way communication.

Who knows if anything has been achieved through the use of prune, cabincrew.com and vflyer in the last few months but to have an internal forum that is for registered union VA crew members only (sorry no managers) I think this would be a massive step in the right direction.

The reason I say no managers is not to disrespect them, but people would not post their concerns and thoughts if they felt they were being snooped on.
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Old 7th Jan 2008, 23:20
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The thing their is Scooby, you can be a union member and a manager, and Unite would not be able to be selective, however much they wanted to.
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Old 7th Jan 2008, 23:25
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Yes, that could be a problem however if clear rules were created from the inception of the forums then this could be addressed.

An area for all union members
an area that excludes managers.

In the registration process it is made quite clear than to encourage free communications without the fear of discrimination within the workplace managers would not be permitted to view certain areas/forums.

I would like to think that Virgin and its' managers would be happy with that as it is encouraging communication between members and the union. If they didn't like the idea then they are simply disrupting the communication process and once again people would not feel free to communicate what they really felt without fear of being "watched". This would be a powerful tool for the union and its members and would help ensure it is representing the members views at all times. I do not think this would work if managers were part of it, especially after recent weeks.
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Old 7th Jan 2008, 23:29
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litebulbs and scoobydooo. I agree with a lot you say but do believe you are mixing 2 issues.

The improvements in representation are valid points but a different issue. IMHO this latest action was more about unite politics than representing its members. Thats why in the cold light of day, particularly following the letter, this is a clear victory for RB.

Yes bridge building will now have to take place of course but not everyone wants more pay at the expense of everything else. Each to their own
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Old 7th Jan 2008, 23:35
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Yes bridge building will now have to take place of course but not everyone wants more pay at the expense of everything else. Each to their own
I agree, hence there needs to be some form of survey undertaken to see just what it is that people want. There are several ways to achieve this;

Paper/online survey (doesnt paint accurate picture as the respondants are selective)
A company is hired which contacts different employees in different roles of varying demographics, has been found to provide very accurate results in gaging workforce/union thoughts.

Or private forums where people can respond to polls and offer more details.
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Old 7th Jan 2008, 23:36
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Wonder what the company is going to do for the lowly ground staff now we have sat back patiently and watched 2 unionised departments hold the company to ransom and pretty much both get what they wanted !!. As Richard never wanted his staff to be unionised, I wonder what offer will be made this year to the non unionised departments.

The company might hold the flying staff up on a pedestal and think the airline is nothing without the flying staff (which in a way it isn't), but those aeroplanes still cannot fly without an engineer to sign it off

Oh and in the last thread those that were debating about who owns the a/c, have a look on the back wall in the f/deck, there should be a plaque that tells you who owns each airframe.

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Old 7th Jan 2008, 23:42
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leezy,

I agree, you guys shoulg get yourselves unionised and you are in perfect position to do it now. You have seen what a shambles this has been. You have seen what Balpa achieved. So now you can design your union and go forward with this design finding the correct union for you.

If that's what it takes to ensure you get what you deserve, I say go for it.
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Old 7th Jan 2008, 23:42
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Look lets just call this one a truce, however I do believe that it was the Unite that came to the company asking for the strike to be stopped.

We can argue about the reasons why, however it seems that the company could run a pretty normal schedule on both the affected strike days (I have a good friend in the NO) and that the crew really didin't want to strike.

I think this is the best outcome and I think that both sides have learnt from this.

Remember the next pay talks start the beginning or March 09. It's not long, however it long enough for us to elect good people to represent us

xxx
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Old 7th Jan 2008, 23:43
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Leezyjet

Join a union and not necessarily Unite, gain recognition and enter into negotiation rather than consultation! Or get what you are given! Whatever happens the bearded one is getting richer by the day off of the back of your hard work! He started it and is justly rewarded for his vision, but how much money does one ego need?
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Old 7th Jan 2008, 23:47
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do believe that it was the Unite that came to the company asking for the strike to be stopped
Well they have just gone up in my estimation then, well done Unite, you have made some mistakes but if this is indeed what happened then You did the right thing, (if and only if the current deal is better than the last one - otherwise you will have upset 1497 union members).
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Old 7th Jan 2008, 23:51
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Leezyjet . For ten years now i have paid to be supported by a union , money which i have recently consideried stopping ,admittedly. However how can you hold your 2 % rise against us , if your departments are not prepared to do anything about it. Yes the company isnt just made up of crew and i value the times when we all do work as one and value the work that we all do to keep the planes flying. During this time we have been told as crew several times by other departments " you knew what it was like when you joined, if you dont like it leave". Im not going to say that to you but now that we have stood our ground, please dont resent it.

Last edited by pokergirl; 7th Jan 2008 at 23:55. Reason: jumping ahead of myself
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Old 7th Jan 2008, 23:54
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Virgin89

Maybe you should stand after implying that the current reps are no good. You cannot choose your Unite full time reps (i.e. employed by Unite, not VS), but the staff reps give up their own time to fight for cabin crew.

I would look at he 2000 cabin crew members who will benefit from this agreement, who pay **** all towards collective bargaining. They are 110 a month better off than the Unite members, who through their membership, allowed negotiation and a better deal than the non recognised departments.
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Old 8th Jan 2008, 00:07
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good post litebulbs

it's very unfair to point a finger at the local reps.

All workers at all levels in all industries are suffering from the apathy of a non unionsed workforce. Thats where the a lot of blame lies.
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Old 8th Jan 2008, 00:52
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All workers at all levels in all industries are suffering from the apathy of a non unionsed workforce. Thats where the a lot of blame lies.
Talk about controversial!

Perhaps the scenario exists where employees don't like unions because of the damage they can cause to the company? If every department in Virgin was unionised and held the company to ransom every time they didn't get an inflation-busting rise, it would be out of business pretty quickly.

The actions of Unite leave a very bitter taste in my mouth, and I have no stomach to support an organisation that spouts rather disruptive press releases which hurt the bottom line of the company I rely on for my living. However that doesn't make me apathetic, it just means I have a different opinion of unions than you.

Yes, perhaps I am unable to extort quite as much from my employer as you; and it's a pity that because of unions only certain sections of the company get a pay rise, but I sleep happy in my bed knowing I'm not the one stealing bread out of the mouths of my colleagues (plus the fact I was happy to accept the salary with the job - of course I'd like more, but don't see unions as the way to achieve it.) It would be rather nice if you could respect that opinion rather than insisting I 'get unionised'
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Old 8th Jan 2008, 00:54
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Pokergirl/litebulbs,

I don't hold the 2% against the crew and I don't resent what you have done. Our 2% was nothing to do with crew and crew were in a position where you had an organisation that could negotiate on your behalf and I do think you needed a bit more (don't we all), but when you compare that to what some of the people on the ground get, you ain't that hard done by as crew (I watched the crew work on a chocka full flight a couple of months back and they must have done 3-4 hours work tops on a 10+ hour flight - rest of the time was walking round the cabin, sleeping in crew rest or chatting in the galleys - and the chat was mostly about what they were going to do/buy down route on the way out and what they had done/bought on the way back - no doubt coming out of the allowances that are meant for food and drink are they not ?) compared to BA you might not get as much, but they are well... BA - they are in a different league to VS when it comes to pay (and making a sh!t load more money), but their perks are not as good as what we get - (now if you could place a value on what the VS perks are worth and have the option of having the perks or the money with an option to change every few years or so..... an idea maybe ??.) Also did someone not post in one of the many threads that Bmi crew get LESS than VS crew do so there is always someone worse off.

I too have been a union member for about 10 years (not recognised by the company though), but unfortunately the company sees ALL ground staff as one entity, there is no distinction between engineers, the girls at check-in, cargo chaps or the pen pushers in the office, so when the last vote went ahead about 7 years ago, those at the office voted against having a union as working in an office is pretty much the same anywhere, but working in an office for an airline that gives you 7 free flights a year and discounts on just about everything else, then it soon takes on a different outlook and seems pretty damn good so we didn't get it and we have not had a vote since (and to be honest I don't even think anyone would know now how to go about having another vote as from what I understand we've had our 1 chance and thats that) !!.

If the company would group office staff and airport staff seperately, then the front line airport staff who like the crew have to deal with the sh!t day after day would probaly have the union in tomorrow, but when we have the office staff grouped in with us too, we have virtually no chance !!

Anyway I'm just glad this has all ended amicably though as there were alot of our colleauges in certain non critical behind the scenes areas who had been notified that their jobs were at risk if the crew went on strike. Hopefully they will be able to sleep easier at night now.

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Old 8th Jan 2008, 01:05
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Gee - i would be feeling so good if i was a VS cabin crew member right now ....

After my boss say's (in effect) "just leave then, you are replaceable/won't be missed" - and in the next breath say's "you are the best in the world"

How two faced can you get ?

These crews work so hard and have had poor pay for too long, many of us outside VS hope they are content with the resulting settlement......
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