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TWU To Push For Labor Ban On Donations from Qatar Airways Over Employee Abuses


TWU MEDIA RELEASE, 14 February 2016
 
The Transport Workers’ Union will seek backing from the NSW Labor Party to ban donations from Qatar Airways over treatment of its employees, including sacking workers for minor offences and keeping them under constant surveillance.

The donations ban is part of a motion by the TWU to go before the party’s conference on Sunday. The motion also calls on the Government to ensure all airlines operating in Australia abide by labor standards.
 
Qatar Airways, which is increasing its flights into Australia next month, has been sanctioned by the UN labour body over its policy to sack women employees when they become pregnant.
 
“I am appalled by the Medieval-style treatment of Qatar Airways employees. ‘Open Skies’ policies allowing foreign airlines greater access to Australian routes are importing a culture of abuse and exploitation and threatening living standards for aviation workers. It is up to the Government to ensure Australian standards are upheld for all employees working here,” said TWU National Secretary Tony Sheldon.
 
Qatar Airways has an alliance with Qantas, which was taken to court by the Fair Work Ombudsman in 2013 over exploitation of Thai flight attendants on Jetstar routes.
 
In June 2015 UN body the International Labor Organization demanded that Qatar Airways scrap contracts allowing it to sack women employees when they become pregnant. The International Transport Workers’ Federation, which the TWU is affiliated to, has said there is no evidence Qatar Airways has stopped the practice.
 
One worker told the ITF about conditions for women: “A colleague and friend of mine had an abortion because she was afraid of losing her job. When even someone just suspects that you might be pregnant, you're out.”
 
Qatar Airways also:
 
·      Sack employees for using too much hair gel, wearing your hat wrongly or having a tattoo can result in termination
 
·      Keep employees under constant surveillance including searching accommodation while crewmembers are on a flight and monitoring mandatory 12-hour resting rule before work
 
·      Demand that female staff cannot be dropped off or picked up from company premises by a man other than their father, brother or husband.
 
·      Prohibit employees from joining a union and demands a confidentiality agreement which stops them reporting abuses, even after they leave.
 
The ITF has campaigned on abuses by Qatar Airways. “Crew who work for Qatar Airways have no voice because they aren’t allowed to organise and they are put in a position where they are scared to speak up about their experiences of working for the airline,” said Gabriel Mocho, secretary of the ITF civil aviation section.
 
Australian Tax Office data released recently shows Qatar Airways reported no taxable income in 2013-14 despite raking in $389 million revenue.
 

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