Qantas must act to rebuild trust with employees

Release date: 30/09/2011

Qantas members of the Transport Workers Union of Australia today voted overwhelmingly in favour of taking further industrial action in pursuit of securing job security and a fair pay deal from Qantas.  

Members in all States were this morning provided with updates on the lack of progress in negotiations as a result of Qantas stonewalling for over six months on agreeing to a new enterprise bargaining agreement (EBA), even though the airline just recorded a $530m pre-tax profit – up 120% on last year.

“Our members value the Qantas brand and are trying to prevent it being dismantled before their eyes.  Unfortunately Qantas senior executives can only see fit to bolster their own pay packets and ignore the people who make sure the planes are safely maintained, prepared and pushed out for take-off”, National TWU Secretary, Tony Sheldon said.

Taking industrial action against a company that once valued their service is a big step for these employees. But like the Australian public, they don’t look at Qantas as just another airline that can be pulled apart, re-branded and sold-off in chunks. 

That is why Qantas employees voted to support and continue their campaign to secure a new EBA to replace the one struck under WorkChoices. If Qantas management fails to show signs of genuine engagement in negotiations, rolling stoppages may commence from next week.

“Qantas employees are primarily seeking job security over the life of a new EBA. The company has so far failed to respond to those claims, simply because it is now led by bean-counters who put job security and Australia’s national interest way behind the naked pursuit of profit.”

“Eight executive directors took home $14.4 million in 2011, four senior Qantas executives got paid almost $53 million in four years; and its Chairman, Leigh Clifford, got a 33 per cent pay rise in the past three years,” Mr Sheldon said.

“The so-called New Spirit of Australia is about replacing permanent workers with part-time workers, abolishing the right of part-time staff to become full-time after they reach accumulated hour benchmarks and denying job security.  Today, Qantas management has even distorted the TWU’s request that industrial leave be provided to a handful of long-term employees.”

Delegate leave is an industry standard in the aviation industry. The majority of companies, including Qantas’ major competitors, generally see this as an opportunity to resolve problems with its workforce.

Qantas delegates will continue to press for a breakthrough in negotiations to ensure the Australian travelling public is not held to ransom by Qantas wanting to continue its WorkChoices EBA.

Contact: Joshua Genner - 0414 494 803


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