TWU sounds alarm on Virgin tapping Paul Jones as CEO

TWU sounds alarm on Virgin tapping Paul Jones as CEO

The Transport Workers Union has told Bain Capital it does not support the possible appointment of Paul Jones as CEO of Virgin Australia.

Paul Jones spent 10 years at Qantas, rising to chief operating officer, but during his tenure as executive manage of freight and airports, he endorsed the outsourcing of 1700 workers in late 2020 after the pandemic hit. That decision, made along with fellow senior manager Colin Hughes, was later found by Justice Lee to have been unlawfully orchestrated.

TWU secretary Michael Kaine wrote to Michael Murphy, a partner at Bain Capital, to express the potential appointment have the union “great cause for concern”.

“As you are aware, the morale of Virgin Australia staff has dropped,” Kaine wrote. “While working conditions for cabin crew and ground crew have improved following recent enterprise agreement negotiations, pilots remain significantly disgruntled and disappointed with the proposed NB EA (narrow body enterprise agreement) released on Monday.”

Kaine also highlighted a TWU survey of Virgin pilots which he said found the majority dissatisfied with their working environment.

“The TWU pilot survey reflected Virgin’s own staff sentiment survey released last year which found that less than 20 per cent of pilots agreed with the statement: ‘I rarely think about looking for a new job at another company’ and only 3 per cent said they’d ‘recommend Virgin Australia to friends and relatives as a great place to work’,” he wrote.

“Only around 32 per cent agreed that ‘my feedback on safety is taken on board’.”

The news comes as Virgin announced it was down to its final internal candidate – Paul Jones.

Kaine finished the letter asking for a response from Virgin on key issues include the appointment, but also Hrdlicka’s claims that the carrier is ready for an initial public offering.

The IPO has been much talked about by Virgin, with reports last year suggesting it was ‘in shape’ to take place in the second half of 2023.

Reports: one internal candidate left in Virgin Australia CEO race

Travel Weekly has reached out to Virgin Australia and Bain Capital and both declined to comment. 

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