Scandal-ridden company Aerocare, which carries out ground services for the major airlines, is leading a race to the bottom in aviation in not only dragging down labour standards but compromising security and safety at our airports, the union added.
“Clearly trickle-down economics is failing when the aviation industry can post billions of dollars in profit, yet employees can’t pay bills, can’t get loans and are forced to sleep at airports because of split shifts and low pay,” said TWU National Secretary Tony Sheldon.
The Fair Work Commission in August rejected a new Aerocare enterprise agreement because of the poor rates and conditions. Aerocare last week was back in the Commission appealing the decision and fighting to keep its exploitative business model.
A report last month by the Centre for Future Work at the Australia Institute showed that employees throughout the economy stand to lose $100 billion in retirement savings because of wage theft, wage freezes, reduced penalty rates and cancelled enterprise agreements. The report has raised questions about the role superannuation funds have in encouraging this loss to retirement savings by investing in companies like Aerocare with poor labour standards.
“Aerocare is effectively using money invested in it from super funds and the savings it makes through its low wage regime to further suppress wages. It is an indictment of our broken industrial relations structure when the system can be gamed against workers like this,” Sheldon added
The four main airports posted profits of $1.8 billion last year. Qantas announced profits of $1.4 billion for the 2017 financial year.
One Qantas worker said: “The use of labour hire firms like Aerocare is devastating for our jobs and leading to thousands of aviation workers being underpaid and exploited. The industry needs to provide full-time jobs with decent income levels for workers.”
High turnover rates among airport workers, which are a result of low pay and poor conditions, are impacting on safety and security at airports. The turnover rates mean workers are on a daily basis accessing secure areas of our airports without proper checks or security clearance.
“Airports and airlines are refused to address this issue and the Government is ignoring the problem,” Sheldon said.