We spent 2 days with Virgin last Thu and Fri getting into detail on how the new EA could look. It’s hard to explain it all here but I can give a wider level view of the happenings. We went through every single clause in the current Agreement and agreed to many changes. Most of them are just technical in nature and make no difference to your pay or entitlements. Some were changes that definitely bring savings to the company that we expect to be compensated for. The parties are on track to attain two substantial outcomes…..retainment of the Embraer payment when the aircraft is moved on and having all qualified B1R blokes who also hold Full B1 licences recognised and paid for those qualifications.
One conceptual change the parties have agreed to is redefining the LAME classifications. Rather than being a B1R, B1, B2 or 5 cat as defined in the EA, we propose to move to 3 levels for LAMEs. Level 1 being a B1 who cannot hold a full B1 licence. Level 2 being B2s and Full B1s and Level 3 being 5 Cats. Its virtually the same thing but it will allow some prerequisites to be added before someone can move from one level to the other. For example, the company are saying that to get to Level 3 (5 Cat level) you would need to have been with Virgin for 9 years and to move to Level 2, 5 years. We most likely need to accept this stepping model to fund an ultimate outcome where everyone can get to Level 2 automatically, which is the current Full B1 or B2 rate. We think the waiting periods are too long though.
Job security terms are yet to be agreed. At this stage the EA study assistance is likely to go (we want to use that allocation of funds to sponsor upgrades and licence payment retention). We are also madly punching in figures into calculators and excel sheets to prove to the company that we can also fit within the outcome, more time off work. Let me know if you have any questions. We meet with them again next week.
Just on another matter. It has been reported that a member was asked by a Flight Attendant if the FA could follow the LAME around as he did an FRC check so he could learn more about the aircraft. We strongly encourage members to respectfully decline any requests of such nature.