Virgin Australia has dodged the threat of disruptive industrial action from ground staff during the peak Christmas period, agreeing to a pay deal that will deliver some workers pay rises as high as 20 per cent in the first year.
The three-year pay deal involves a minimum 14.9 per cent increase across all pay grades, regardless of seniority, and comes after baggage handlers and cleaners won the right to a protected action ballot at the Fair Work Commission in late October.
The Transport Workers Union says the Virgin pay deal “corrects pay and conditions after pandemic sacrifice” for staff including baggage handlers and cleaners. Robert Rough
Ground workers won 8.4 per cent in the first year, followed by 3 per cent and 3.5 per cent, after forgoing wage increases during the COVID-19 pandemic and as Virgin Australia entered administration. The airline has returned to profit for the first time in 11 years, as appetite for travel propelled earnings.
A small cohort of managers will get 20 per cent in year one of the agreement in recognition of their sacrifices during the pandemic, the Transport Workers Union said.
It is understood the highest-paid ground workers earn $67,000 a year before penalties and allowances while the lowest paid are believed to earn about $48,886 a year.
The deal sets a precedent as Virgin tries to close out negotiations with cabin crew and pilots, before it resumes work to relist on the ASX in May. Cabin crew also sought the right to a protected action ballot last week after failing to reach agreement on pay.
The Reserve Bank of Australia is closely watching wage growth to ensure it does not spiral and undermine inflation-fighting measures. Annual wages growth hit 4 per cent in the September quarter, atRead more on afr.com