Australia’s four major airports – Sydney, Melbourne, Perth and Brisbane – reported a record-breaking $1.8bn profit according to Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) annual Airport Monitoring Report for 2015-2016.
Transport Workers’ Union National Secretary Tony Sheldon said the reports of massive profits were an insult to the thousands of airport workers who had seen their real wages decline.
“Inequality is on the rise in Australia and those behind the shiny facade at Australia’s airports are feeling the brunt,” Sheldon said.
“Airport workers are some of Australia’s lowest paid employees and many are forced onto insecure, part-time work and wage freezes. These profits show how airports at the top of the supply chain are ultimately responsible for the pressure on wages as they make profits off the backs of the people who work there,” he added.
Almost 70% of aviation employees surveyed* said their pay does not allow them to meet their costs while over three-quarters say they cannot afford to retire at 65.
“Powerful airport owners must be legislatively held accountable for the quality of employment in aviation. If the Government won’t hold them responsible then shareholders and owners must step in. Ultimately employees at the airport will be pressuring management to take responsibility,” Sheldon said.
The ACCC’s chairman Rod Sims has criticised a lack of regulatory oversight and bungled privatisations by State Governments as the main reasons behind the airport’s out-of-control profits.
“We need stronger regulation in this industry to stop profit gouging but also to ensure that the people working at airports have good quality jobs that allow them to support their families. People can’t pay full-time bills on part-time wages,” Sheldon said.
“Our campaign for Safe and Secure Skies is about building a sustainable aviation industry with good jobs which feed the local economy. It’s about putting a stop to the high turnover rate among staff which has consequences for safety, security and performance in aviation,” Sheldon added.