Letter to the Sydney Morning Herald

Release date: 26/06/2012

National Secretary Tony Sheldon wrote to the Sydney Morning Herald recently to correct some of the facts in a recent article, "Qantas- who ran down the roo?"

As the National Secretary of a Trade Union representing thousands of Qantas workers, it is important to correct a number of inaccuracies relating to Qantas Baggage Handlers in an otherwise interesting article by Michael Pascoe (Qantas: who ran down the roo?). Firstly, the rates paid for baggage handlers, at $756.42 per week for crew with, on average of at least 4 years experience, are far below the average Australian weekly wage, which according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics stands at $1,404 dollars. Secondly, rates for Qantas baggage handlers are not excessive- in fact they are comparable to those of Qantas’ major competitor, Virgin. 

Where our members are in wholehearted agreement with Mr. Pascoe is where he points out the litany of disastrous decisions made by senior managers over the past number of years. Staff at Qantas have borne the brunt these terrible management decisions and unlike senior executives they have not received an 82% pay increase like the executive board awarded themselves between 2009-11. Senior management have allowed Jetstar to cannibalise Qantas, with the best routes and now the badly needed new planes going to the low cost, outsourced carrier. Staff morale is at an all time low- a recent survey conducted by aviation unions has found that 82% of Qantas workers do not believe management is taking the company in the right direction.

The TWU supports the call for an urgent inquiry from the Government- Qantas is fundamental to Australia from a national, business and security perspective. The sooner that management begins to chart a different course to that which has so clearly failed, the sooner we can begin to restore pride in what remains an Australian icon.

Tony Sheldon
National Secretary of the Transport Workers’ Union

(Your can read the original SMH article, "Qantas: who ran down the roo?" by clicking this link.)

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