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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 8th Jan 2008, 01:16
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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 ?
Your paraphrasing does the original text no justice.

In his letter, Branson was talking about the comparisons between Virgin and BA, and then went on to say "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" - he was clearly referring to those that where calling for comparable wages with British Airways. That, as has been discussed here at length, completely unaffordable for Virgin.

His comments in the press release calling crew the best in the world are not incompatible with his letter. In fact, he said in the letter "Virgin Atlantic has survived against all these giants (TWA, Pan Am, et al) thanks largely to the attitude and hard work of its staff - by everyone working well together, by ensuring that we are the best airline flying"

Twisting the facts is unwise where the audience is so familiar with the first edition.
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Old 8th Jan 2008, 01:19
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leezy

The work of recognition is a tough one. It is about defining your representative group. I am glad that you a a union member, whoever it is. If you follow up your chain of command, you will get to a general manager then director. This in itself defines your potential bargaining group. Ground staff is a diverse group with their own wants and needs within their individual departments.

The paradox is that every individual department would want its own negotiating rights, addressing with expertise, what its bargaining group wants, but Unite has swallowed up the majority of specialised unions. You have to rely on sector expertise, but again, an officer will be representing many different airlines at one time.

Unite has the power to strongly lobby government on employment issues, i.e. Working Time Directive, Minimum Wage, but the bigger long term picture does not help you today.

The union movement has moved on a long way since the much maligned 70's. You just have to look at the highest paid collective group within any airline. Most pilots would not consider themselves socialists, but they benefit greatly from an almost closed shop. This gives a power to negotiate strongly with the business. They also pay for this privilege though.

Still being in is better than being out IMHO!
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Old 8th Jan 2008, 01:22
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VS LHR

You are equally guilty of making a subjective assumption of his words. I read it one way and you read it another. My way is right and yours is wrong, or is it the other way round?!
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Old 8th Jan 2008, 01:24
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@vs_lhr
You can afford to take that stance because of unions not in spite of them. Your basic terms and conditions are either directly or indirectly because of unions.

But I do agree with you that unions have left a bad taste in many mouths the past decades. Had you read my previous posts I mentioned that money wasn't everything.

That said the fact remains that if you wish to improve the whole terms and conditions package wherever you may work, it can only be done through unionisation and it can only be effectively achieved if the bulk of the workforce are unionised. The key, as now is knowing how and when to exercise the right to strike correctly.

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'
Your last paragraph is unfortunately nonsense.
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Old 8th Jan 2008, 01:25
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Leezyjet. I'm happy its sort of sorted now - though god knows what if any conditions are in store for us. After all the company dont need a pay ballot in order to be able to reduce the crew compliment. Referring to the flight you did, i agree im not going to try and state that every flight is horrendous and back breaking. Just like all other departments when the systems work, and the products are there ,flights should go like clockwork, however when it does go wrong it goes horrendiously wrong and thats when i feel the crew come into their own. For those 10 hours with no IFE, incorrect seats, seating problems, catering down, crew short need I go on, the pax have no where to go. Now can we all try to put this behind us and start working together.
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Old 8th Jan 2008, 01:28
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You are equally guilty of making a subjective assumption of his words. I read it one way and you read it another. My way is right and yours is wrong, or is it the other way round?!
True, Litebulbs, it is possible to find a different spin in almost anything. The summary provided by Anti-ice, however, feels little more than trolling to get a reaction.
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Old 8th Jan 2008, 01:30
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OH AND THE BLOODY BIGGEST THING IS THAT AS WE PROGRESS THROUGH OUR WORKING LIVES, THINGS SHOULD BE GETTING BETTER NOT WORSE!!!

Sorry for the shout, but do not loose sight of this.
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Old 8th Jan 2008, 01:31
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That said the fact remains that if you wish to improve the whole terms and conditions package wherever you may work, it can only be done through unionisation and it can only be effectively achieved if the bulk of the workforce are unionised. The key, as now is knowing how and when to exercise the right to strike correctly.
This implies that employers never have an altruistic thought and purely exist to exploit their employees. That is a sad vision of the world I don't subscribe to.

Your last paragraph is unfortunately nonsense.
Obviously I disagree, but without a constructive rebuttal I'm not really in a position to have anything more to add.
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Old 8th Jan 2008, 01:34
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Vs Lhr

Human Resource.................................................... ..............................
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Old 8th Jan 2008, 01:35
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Vs Lhr

Human Resource.......................................... ........................................
Oh fun. A word game. Um....

Aircraft Dispatch................................
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Old 8th Jan 2008, 01:39
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This implies that employers never have an altruistic thought and purely exist to exploit their employees.
well it is unfortunately a fact that they often get their priorities confused. It is more than well documented that a unionised workforce leads to better terms and conditions.

It is outrageous to claim that union members seeking a better pay deal are stealing from anyone.

But I may possibily agree with you on how you go about getting a better deal.
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Old 8th Jan 2008, 01:39
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Ha ha

You are a resource no matter which department you work in. Part of the budget that is a cost. A cost that can be saved to buy another jumper!
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Old 8th Jan 2008, 02:15
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Dear Vs Lhr,
Branson may well have been trying to say that VS could not afford the same rates as BA. The fact remains that you will still be the lowest paid crew in the U.K., on average 2,000 per year worse off than even the charter/low cost airlines.
It seems from your posts that you are happy with a boss that pays you so lowly and then tells you to go forth if you do not like it!
As you seem to be so anti union/industrial action I assume that you will not be taking the full 4.8%, but the initial 2% with strings that was the first offer to crew.

Regards,
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Old 8th Jan 2008, 09:32
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VS_lhr,

How do you feel about the outcome, I have re-read all your posts since yesterday and none of them seem to be in a positive light ? Why ? are you not happy with the outcome ? Most crew members I have spoken since the news are, yet you are not ?

As for holding the company to ransom for an inflation busting payrise, you and I both know this has been a long time coming and it's going to continue unless things drastically improve by April 2009. There will be a lot of eyes and ears looking to see just exactly what changes for the better are implemented in the next 17 months.

Regarding taking the bread out of others mouths, nearly fell off my chair when you stooped that low.

Now that this round is over will you finally admit you are management ?

Leezyjet,

I read your posts with interest, I note you said the last vote was 7 years ago yet the company will only treat all ground based workers as one unit. I do not fully understand the internal mechanics of unions however could you not try and address this, why is it that for example BA checkin staff are able to be balloted individually as can BA engineers ? (is it purely a function of size ?)

I would suggest that using other airlines as examples you guys and girls should be able to separate your departments as I dont think it would ever work having a secretary voting on the an engineers overtime rate or an engineer voting on a checkin crews max hours per week, each proposal that carried a change in terms and conditions to a specific department would more than likely never reach a true representative outcome of one department.

I urge you to try and address this, now is the time to move forward, each and every department should have the right to be represented and the company saying this can only be as one unit seems in my eyes to be the company way off stopping it from happening.
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Old 8th Jan 2008, 10:01
  #55 (permalink)  
 
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scoobydooo

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.

I urge you to try and address this, now is the time to move forward, each and every department should have the right to be represented and the company saying this can only be as one unit seems in my eyes to be the company way off stopping it from happening.



After the mess cabin crew have just been through, I would say the last thing other areas of the company want is a union. And for those on here claiming it's a victory for cabin crew against Virgin - wasn't it you guys who were getting more and more in a panic as the strike approached when the realisation really started to set in about what striking really meant. I don't think we needed a crystal ball to predict was was going to happen. It was you guys who wanted the deal and went back in to talks (thankfully). On another forum you were all saying about getting talking to the reps and talking to Brian Boyd again because you wanted the removed deal that you last rejected put back onto the table and that you would now accept it. After all, you had 2 deals recommended to you and I'm damn glad you eventually saw the light.

This to me seems to be what has happened. Ok, conditions may have been removed but I wouldn't be feeling so smart. A lot of grief has been caused and a lot of bridges need to be rebuilt in the company, and commercially for the passengers who may have lost faith in the brand, switched accounts to other airlines etc. I for one agree you should have a decent pay packet but there's ways of going about achieving it - and I don't think the last few sorry months was the right way.

I just hope that when your next pay discussions take place, you will have learnt a lot from this whole sorry saga. And by the way, Virgin Atlantic doesn't just revolve around the cabin crew to keep the aircraft flying - there's a whole lot more people behind the scenes that keep this show on the road each day and they work just as hard as the next person.

Lets just hope things are better in 2008 for us all. Happy flying!

Last edited by KevlarLHR; 8th Jan 2008 at 10:11.
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Old 8th Jan 2008, 10:12
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I just hope that in 2009 you will have learnt a lot from this whole sorry saga. And by the way, Virgin Atlantic doesn't just revolve around the cabin crew to keep the aircraft flying - there's a whole lot more people behind the scenes that keep this show on the road each day and they work just as hard as the next person.
Which is why they are worth more than 2%, and if VA wont give it to them willingly then need a union to ensure they get what they deserve... i.e. more.
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Old 8th Jan 2008, 10:16
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Kevlar, I forgot to add, yes there were others on cc.com saying that they wanted the old offer onthe table, but they also voted yes to the last deal so it was not a change in heart.

Talking about the cc and what has happened is now history, I am talking now about other departments who deserve the right to be represented by a union which is recognised by the the company. If however other departments feel adequately valued then the company shouldnt have a problem with this should it ? To be offered something not to join or vote in favour of a union (as indicated in the last thread) would imply otherwise.
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Old 8th Jan 2008, 10:49
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A union rep has just told me that the strike was called off 'cos the co told them at a meeting yest that they had enough crew to run an almost perfect schedule.

With regard to other departments comparing themselves to us, its a completely different kettle of fish. As someone has already said, when things go well, all of our jobs are a breeze, when things go wrong that's when the nightmare begins and that happens to us ALL irrespective of where we work. The comment re the crew on a 10 hour flight doing 3 or 4 hours work tops, well that is a rarity but yes it does happen. But there are many many flights like the one that I have just done where we had an ill pax onboard and that took 2 crew out of the service to assist, we ran out of meals before all pax had been served, we had no IFE through the whole aircraft and it was turbulent and that was a 9 hour flight full full full! So please don't assume that our lives are a breeze, we work very hard as do other departments.

Having said that, it's up to every department to fight for what they feel they deserve. As someone else has quite rightly said, we are still second from the bottom of the list when it comes to pay for UK based airline staff and that's nothing to be proud of, especially for a company with VS's reputation! Let me just remind you as well that VS will do whatever it takes to save money in any way they can. Whilst this is good in some respects, in other's it is not! Remember that they laid off all of our ground staff overseas some years ago despite some of them having worked for us for many many years, the ground staff that now represent us, are employed through an outside company and cause no end of problems as they have no interest in the company or their work. Try flying in and out of NYC (both airports) a few times and you'll see what I mean. Please also remember that one of the reasons we have more national crew on our flights than any other airline, is because they are cheaper than uk based crew especially the Indian Crew who earn a third of what a junior crew member earns! We only need national crew for language purposes according to the CAA yet our flights have more national crew than UK based crew!!
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Old 8th Jan 2008, 11:06
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As 016FSM states, the strike was a busted flush before it started. The Company was able to tell all those that needed to know that all scheduled flights would fly, almost certainly with full crews. The statistics to back this up were no doubt shown to the Union, who had no choice but to back down. In order that faces could be saved, an offer of further consultation was pegged on to the previously-agreed deal so that it could be presented as at least slightly improved - but I doubt anyone will be fooled!

Tyhe main thing is that a damaging face-off has been avoided, and both sides can get down to some serious improving of their communication skills before the next round of talks starts later this year. In the meantime, you CC will receive what is still by far the best pay increase in the industry over the last couple of years, though the other changes to conditions will remain.

It can hardly be called a triumph by either side, but at least it should put the nastiness behind us and allow us all to move forward to better things in the future.

Happy New year to all of us!
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Old 8th Jan 2008, 11:48
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I look forward to the communication from the union with the details.

I do find it odd that if the company had enough crew to run a near perfect schedule why they just did not go ahead and do that. By doing this they would have further weakened the union saved themselves several million in the process by not increasing all crews wages but as vs_lhr said in the last thread only rewarding those crews that came to work.

Does seem strange to me if a near normal operation could of been achieved, but then that said, I am a conspiracy theorist !
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