Qantas Workers and the Australian Public Deserve A Great Airline

Release date: 30/05/2012

The militant and arrogant culture of Qantas management has been laid bare by their recent actions towards their staff and the Australian public and this culture must change if we are to continue to have an Australian aviation industry and decent jobs in the future. That’s according to Tony Sheldon, National Secretary of the Transport Workers Union (TWU).

Tony was speaking today as the arbitration case before Fair Work Australia, triggered by management’s lockout of 35,000 Qantas staff last October, continues.  Tony was joined by Federal Senator for Western Australia Glenn Sterle, a delegation from the Teamsters Union of North America and Qantas employees at the arbitration hearing in central Sydney.


Tony Sheldon commented; “For a long time now we have known that management at Qantas have absolutely no respect for their workforce and the Australian travelling public. They proved this when they shut down the airline last October, stranding 90,000 passengers around the globe and locking out 35,000 staff.”


“The agenda of the militant and arrogant management has been laid bare by the testimony of Qantas workers and senior executives during 10 days of arbitration. The full bench of Fair Work Australia has heard from a number of senior Qantas executives who have boasted about the fact that Qantas will no longer directly employ workers but will instead use outsourced labour on substantially reduced wages, conditions and training. Fair Work Australia has also heard from dozens of employees across the country, testifying to demoralising and unsafe conditions at Qantas. Testimony before FWA appears to show that the good faith shown by unions including the TWU during EBA negotiations – as required by the Fair Work Act- has not been reciprocated by Qantas.”


“Just last week Qantas made series of proclamations to sack 535 heavy maintenance workers, begin the breakup of the airline and to slash routes across the Northern Territory, removing the NT from Qantas. It is clear that management has no respect for the cherished relationship the airline has with Australians or for the dignity of their workforce.”


“I welcome the recent decision from the Fair Work Ombudsman to  prosecute Jetstar for crewing domestic flights with Asian flight attendants, some of whom earn as little as $400 dollars a month. This is an issue which we have been highlighting for a long time now and it is important to see that they company is held to account on this.


Tony concluded; “The culture amongst senior staff at Qantas is seriously out of kilter with Australian values of a fair go and common decency. This must change otherwise all that will be left of this Australian icon is a logo on a plane and frequent flyer programme.”


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