Release date: 30/03/2009

Qantas employees at Sydney's international and domestic terminals have walked off the job this morning over safety and security concerns throughout the Qantas group of companies' operations.

Transport Workers Union Federal Secretary, Tony Sheldon, said Qantas' continued lack of action was putting lives at risk, and the decision by the employees was not taken lightly.

“We have been asking for increased security including ASIO checks for all airport staff as well the upgrading of security cameras at the airport for a number of years now,” Mr Sheldon said.

“This was widely commented upon following the September 11terorist attacks, the invasion of Iraq, Schapelle Corby's trial, and the camera issue has raised its head again following last Sunday's bikie terror at the airport.

“If last week was terrorists they could have done whatever they wanted, and simply exited by jumping in a taxi and left – following on from last Sunday's incident. We would not know who they are and that is not good enough.

“The continued outsourcing of work by Qantas has given opportunities in the areas of security, baggage handling and other areas of the workplace where there is no guarantee the contractor working beside you has been cleared by any security organisation whatsoever.

“We are also demanding that when there is a security scare, Government employed professionals are used rather than untrained and ill-equipped baggage handlers are in getting potential explosive or biochemical bombs out of planes. It is like sending a canary down a mineshaft. This is not good enough.

“We need more security training for the people working at, what is in all reality, the frontline for possible terrorist and criminal activity in this country. We had to resort to industrial action four years ago to get this implemented, however, as soon as it is out of the news, Qantas further deteriorates security arrangements.

“This is one Australia's major airports and if Qantas management will not take the security of travelers, employees and the general public seriously – then we have to act to ensure they do,” Mr Sheldon said.

Media contact: Seth Tenkate 0408 463 199.


All Media Items Share This