Release date: 6/05/2010

In a significant step for tens of thousands of workers in the Australian aviation industry, the Transport Worker’s Union (TWU), Flight Attendants Association of Australia (Domestic & Regional Division) (FAAA) and the Australian Licensed Aircraft Engineers (ALAEA) will today launch a new Australian Aviation Unions Federation (AUF).

Comprising the combined membership of each member union, the AUF aims to become the strongest and most significant voice representing the industrial, community and political interests and aspirations of Australian aviation workers and their families.

At formation, the combined membership of AUF shall exceed 20,000 members in aviation and related industries, making it the biggest representative of organized labor in the aviation industry from inception. With a diversity of membership covering the work of flight attendants in our skies, the engineering and technical staff keeping our airlines flying and the ramp, catering, baggage, cleaning, freight, refueling and customer service staff that handle customer needs on ground, it will also be the most representative organization in the industry.

TWU Secretary Tony Sheldon, FAAA Domestic and Regional Secretary Jo Ann Davidson and ALAEA Secretary Steve Purvinas sign the Alliance.

“From this strategic position of representative strength, our objective in forming this Federation is to unite our respective expertise, skills and experience to create a stronger voice for aviation workers and their families,” TWU National Secretary Tony Sheldon said.

“Forming this new strategic federation makes sense for flight attendants and their families. It will allow us to deliver a safer, better and more rewarding industry by drawing on the Federation’s combined skills, experience and resources,” FAAA Domestic and Regional Secretary Jo Ann Davidson said.

“Through AUF we will have access to cabin crew, baggage handlers, caters, chefs, refueling staff and cleaners. It will mean that as engineers and technical staff we have a real say in determining the future of our industry with real power,” ALAEA Federal Secretary Steve Purvinas said.

Key joint activities and initiatives for AUF will include: 
  • Ensuring that Federal Labor Government’s reform of the Australian Aviation Industry announced in the Governments Aviation White Paper is in the long-term interests of aviation workers, their families and industry. This includes opposing current plans in the White Paper to increase the unfair competition currently faced by Australian based airlines by opening more ports to foreign carriers that undercut Australian standards of safety, security, and conditions.
  • Defeating proposed regulatory changes to reduce domestic cabin crew ratios that will undermine industry safety, security and our International best practice record.
  • Maintaining the safety and security record of the Australian Aviation Industry ensuring that any airline operating in Australian air space is required to meet and comply with best practice standards of safety, security and working conditions
  • Limiting the use of Australian airports and air space to only those international carriers who are prepared to provide enforceable undertakings to Australian authorities they comply with best practice Australian safety and security standards
  • Working to stop the race to the bottom being lead by employers outsourcing and contracting out critical safety functions to the cheapest provider, including off shoring maintenance functions, by seeking a Federal Government Inquiry into Aviation outsourcing and its impact of industry safety and security standards
  • Ensuring the wages and conditions of all aviation workers continue to improve and that and real and viable standards of employment terms and conditions are met and enforced
  • Campaigning to ensure the owners of Australia airport infrastructure and facilities are forced to make proper, long term provision for the needs of aviation workers and their employers and that current focus of airport owners on profit with no real responsibility comes to an end
  • Working to ensure that all aviation workers required to be properly licensed, trained and developed to perform their safety critical tasks on a daily basis and that a mandatory licensing and training system for cabin crew staff requiring compliance with industry best practice in terms of safety and security is introduced as a matter of urgency
  • Campaigning to ensure the Australian Government as one of the biggest clients of the domestic aviation market becomes a consumer of best practice ensuring Australian taxpayer money is not being used to undercut industry standards and conditions by supporting best practice employers with Government procurement contracts current worth over 60million a year.

What rank and file members say about AUF “This is an exciting time to be a TWU member in the aviation industry. I don’t know how many times I have asked why don’t we get more involved and organized with other unions in our industry?” said Chris O’Grady, a Canberra Baggage Handler for the last 15 years. 

“We all work for the same employers, deal with the same decisions makers and issues? Doesn’t it make sense that we all work together? Wouldn’t we be stronger working more closer together? 

“Finally! Through this new Federation I can see that we can really make a difference for airline workers across the country and I am looking forward to sitting down with my employer next year knowing that I know have the engineers and flight attendants on my side.” 

FAAA Delegate, Stacy Hogan said; “Today’s announcement of an alliance between the FAAA, TWU and the ALAEA marks the start of an exciting time not only for the association, but for all Cabin crew working across Australia,” Ms Hogan said. 

“Cabin Crew will be able to draw on the collective strength of this new alliance and collectively continue to push forward of fair and reasonable working conditions, something every Australian employee deserves.” 

 For more information, call TWU press secretary, Seth Tenkate on 0408 463 199.


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