TWU Targets Qantas, Supermarkets
Release date: 25/02/2016
Transport & Logistics News, by Charles Pauka, 24 February 2015
The Transport Workers’ Union is calling on Qantas to share its record profits with its employees, many of whom are struggling on low-wages and part time hours. The airline has announced profits of $688 million in the six months to December 2015, its best ever results in a 95-year history.
“Today’s Qantas results, as Alan Joyce pointed out, is down to hard-working employees who have made many sacrifices to get the airline back to profit. In order to retain the professionalism and dedication of this workforce, which serves passengers so well, Qantas must now share the good results and provide decent, full-time jobs,” said TWU national secretary Tony Sheldon.
Employees within the Qantas group are struggling with many guaranteed no more than 20 hours a week. Jetstar employees at the weekend voted to reject an agreement that would have impoverished many. Qantas announced that Jetstar’s half year profits of $262 million were bigger than the best ever full-year results.
“Jetstar forced a vote on its employees, some of whom are guaranteed as little as $443. The agreement would have locked them into a 4-year low-wage deal. I am calling on Qantas to end this stranglehold on aviation jobs and to stop forcing working families to struggle. They simply can’t pay full-time bills with part-time wages,” Mr Sheldon added.
The TWU is also negotiating a new agreement for Qantas Ground Services employees, whose concerns mirror many of those at Jetstar.
Truck drivers hold rally demanding new pay rates to tackle road deaths
Truck drivers and Transport Workers’ Union activists have held a noisy rally in Adelaide to demand that wealthy retailers follow a binding law on pay rates, aimed at cutting the number of deaths on the roads.
The rally called on major retailers to ensure the new rates are paid when the deadline for payment begins on 4 April.
“It is literally a matter of life-and-death that these rates are paid. We are seeing 330 people slaughtered on our roads each year in truck crashes while truck driving is Australia’s deadliest profession,” said TWU national secretary Tony Sheldon.
“I am calling on drivers to take direct action with their workmates to ensure these rates are paid by transport operators and clients. This is a fight for rights: the right for all road users to be able to come home safely and for drivers to do their jobs safely,” he added.
“The deaths are inextricably linked to pressures drivers are under: pressure to drive long hours, to speed and forgo safety checks and maintenance,” Sheldon said.
Last December the road safety watchdog handed down the ground-breaking ruling on minimum safe rates. The Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal said long-distance drivers and those working in retail must be paid minimum rates that also cover time spent waiting and queuing at depots and distribution centres. The ruling said retailers that use transport operators must be held to account for pressures on drivers.
“Drivers must also stand up against exploitation and companies hiring drivers illegally. This also effects all the community as we saw recently in Sydney when a truck caused traffic chaos on the M5 airport tunnel after the drivers on visas were unable to reverse the vehicle,” Sheldon added.
Truck driver Frank Black said the pay rates were vital in addressing the high death toll in truck crashes. “Drivers need to know they can feed their family and pay bills. They need to know they don’t have to cut corners on safety.”
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