Qantas employees to lodge claim against airline

Release date: 1/05/2009

The Transport Workers Union (TWU) will be lodging papers in the Industrial Relations Commission this morning in an effort to have Qantas fulfill its legal responsibilities to front-line workers in the wake of the growing global swine flu threat.

TWU Federal Secretary, Tony Sheldon, said with the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) recent raising of the level of the pandemic threat (1),  companies like Qantas and airport owners Sydney Airport Corporation Limited, should be doing all they can to ensure the pandemic’s influence on its employees, their families and people using their facilities.

“Today we lodged paperwork in the commission in an attempt to make Qantas ensure its employees are not threatened or forced to work in any area that has potentially been exposed to this virus without the proper precautions taking place,” Mr Sheldon said.

“We had sought Qantas’ cooperation on this matter over the last few days, but given the WHO’s increased alert, on top of their handling of aircraft cleaners who worked a suspected flight on Tuesday without warnings, we were left with little option,” Mr Sheldon said.

The TWU will be seeking for all airlines to fulfill both moral and legal obligations to employees under Occupational Health and Safety legislation.

“Part of this morning’s action will be to call on the airlines to see that any employee who may catch Swine Flu during the course of their duties does not suffer a financial loss as a result,” Mr Sheldon said.

“We are seeking additional sick leave and full medical expenses for any airline employee who catches the virus during this period. 

“Given the contact employees have and the potential flow-on effects, we are also seeking that anyone displaying symptoms not be required to attend work with no loss of pay, and potentially affect other workers, as well as the traveling public.



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