July 2, 2019

Airport workers protest for safer, fairer jobs

Airport workers have held protests around the country as they served a claim on airports for fairer, safer jobs.

Sydney Airport’s annual general meeting was hit with protests and tough questions to the board about taking responsibility for the poor quality of jobs at the airport. A major protest was also held at Cairns airport, while claims are being served on Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth and Adelaide airports.

 

The principals of the airport claim include workers across aviation companies earning the same rate for doing the same job; secure work with regular hours; safety and security as a number one priority, rather than a focus on engaging work to be carried out for the lowest cost possible.

The claim is part of the plan announced this week by the TWU for widespread industrial action next year as 200 enterprise agreements covering 38,000 transport workers expire. The aim of the industrial action and the claim is to ensure accountability among powerful, wealthy companies at the top of the transport supply chain, including airports.

“Airports are highly profitable while airport workers are struggling. Workers often don’t even know how many hours they will get week to week, with some on as few as 15 hours a week. They can’t get a car loan because of this part-time work and a mortgage is unthinkable for many. This isn’t just bad for workers: safety and security are getting compromised with poor working conditions causing high staff turnover, chronic fatigue and lack of trained, experienced workers. Airports must take responsibility for the conditions workers endure and for safety and security,” said TWU National Secretary Michael Kaine.

Sydney Airport made profits of almost $1 billion last year. Its CEO earns $4.7 million and received over $1 million just to take the job. The airport has never paid income tax and said in February it “expects to commence paying cash income from the 2022 calendar year”.

“Workers at the airport are struggling to pay their bills and feed their families. The level of greed at Sydney Airport is grotesque. It is wrong that baggage handlers, drivers, caterers, cleaners, cabin crew, and others work side by side each other on vastly different rates and conditions. We want Sydney Airport to take responsibility for this and we want it changed,” said TWU NSW Branch Secretary Richard Olsen.

Click here for the airport claim.

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