Qantas act is being flouted

Release date: 2/05/2012

Qantas is avoiding its obligations to Australia in shedding maintenance jobs, union says.

Nine News

Transport Workers Union (TWU) national secretary Tony Sheldon says Qantas is treating the requirements under the laws that allowed its privatisation like a witch's hat rather than a national obligation.

Mr Sheldon called on the government to safeguard jobs at Qantas maintenance bases facing closure.

The airline wants to consolidate its three bases, including two in Victoria and another in Brisbane, and says it will sack about 400 workers.

However it will not make a decision about which jobs would be affected until mid-May.

Mr Sheldon told AAP that unions were confident the Victorian bases would be first on the chopping block "because of leaks coming out of Qantas".

He called on the government to "step up to the plate on this issue" and safeguard the future of the Victorian workforce at the Tullamarine and Avalon operations.

He said the union rejected any offer from Qantas to redeploy workers to northwest Australia.

Mr Sheldon said when the carrier was privatised its owners took on a responsibility towards Australian jobs under the Qantas Sale Act.

"They treat it like a witch's hat rather than a national obligation and the government needs to step in," he said.

Qantas announced in February that 500 jobs would be made redundant nationally and further positions were on the line as it reviewed heavy maintenance and catering operations employing more than 2000 people.

The three heavy maintenance bases collectively employ about 1400 people.

The airline on Tuesday said it did not need all three maintenance bases.

"The significant reduction of maintenance required on our aircraft means we do not need three separate maintenance bases," a spokesperson said in a statement.

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