Virgin boss Richard Branson has said that he will pump £215 million ($250m) into the Virgin Group. The cash injection is designed to “protect [employees] and save jobs”.
The Virgin Group has taken a strong hit from coronavirus. While most readers will be aware of Virgin’s airline empire including Virgin Atlantic and Virgin Australia, the group has a number of other interests. This ranges everywhere from cruises and health clubs to WiFi and purified water. As such, a large chunk of its different businesses have been affected by the pandemic. This includes the airline sector.
$250 million investment
Sir Richard Branson will be pumping a quarter of a billion dollars into the Virgin Group. He has said that this money is being spent to protect employees and to save jobs. Virgin Atlantic employees had already agreed to each taking eight weeks of unpaid leave spread across the next six months in order to weather the storm.
However, Branson is desperate to avoid the redundancies experienced in the wake of the 9/11 terror attacks. In a blog post, Branson wrote:
“I remember the days and weeks after 9/11, when all airlines and travel companies took extremely painful decisions to make redundancies in order to keep businesses afloat and the dramatic impact it had on people then. We are doing all we can to stop that happening now.”
He went on to describe the magnitude of the crisis facing the industry, and indeed the world. Two weeks ago, British Airways CEO called it “a crisis of global proportions like no other”. Meanwhile, Branson used the words “This is the most significant crisis the world has experienced in my lifetime”.
Focusing on job security and wellbeing
Employees have always been at the center of the Virgin Group’s operations. In fact, Branson is known for his attitude to putting employees before customers. It is the company’s belief that happy employees make happy customers.
Last week there were calls for Branson to pay the lost wages of Virgin Atlantic employees. While he is not taking this specific action, Branson definitely wants to make a stand in the matter. The cash injection will hopefully safeguard the roles of Virgin’s 70,000 employees across 35 countries.
Unfortunately, it seems as though the situation presented to the world will get worse before it gets better. In fact, as it stands a significant number of airlines have entirely grounded their fleets for the next month or so.
Virgin Atlantic has stopped short of such extreme measures with up to seven aircraft still in operations daily. Hopefully, the cash injection announced by Richard Branson will give Virgin’s employees some hope in these times of darkness.
What do you make of Branson’s gesture? Should others who are able to follow in his footsteps? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.