This story on the BBC put a big smile on my face. 4800 cabin crew workers voted to strike next month over lower-than-normal pay levels offered by Branson's Virgin Atlantic airline. Branson put his foot down and said in a letter to his staff that he would not meet the pay demands of the union and they should find work elsewhere.
From the article: "In his letter, Sir Richard said Virgin Atlantic had 'drawn a line in the sand' over pay this year. 'To go further would result in unacceptable risks and would set a dangerous precedent to the company as a whole,' he added. 'It would be irresponsible of our management and they, rightly, are not going to take that risk.' Sir Richard admitted that rival airlines often offered
better basic wages but said that they did not offer the perks that came
with working for a 'smaller, more friendly' company. '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,' Sir Richard said. Virgin Atlantic has previously said that there would be no 'eleventh hour change to our pay offer'. The airline said its offer was worth 8.3% on basic pay over two years, with a 4.8% increase offered in the first year."
It is refreshing to hear this from a CEO in a heavily unionized industry. I particularly love the line where he states that if more money is critical to your lifestyle, then work someplace else. That is an option we all have in the market for our labor. If the company you are working for is paying what you think are subpar wages, then it is up to you to obtain new employment at the wages you seek.
I applaud Sir Richard for standing up to thuggish unions. I only wish more CEOs had the tenacity to do the same.