Aviation unions have slammed Qantas’ attempt to rope its decimated workforce into a PR stunt after illegal sackings, termination threats, unilateral wage freezes and attempts to strip workers of their collective agreement.
Qantas has forecast over $1.2 billion in underlying profit for the first half of 2023, while championing a negligible 1% relief to its under-staffed and severely fatigued workforce while using a plethora of tactics to evade collective bargaining for thousands of workers.
On Tuesday, cabin crew with the FAAA filed a dispute in the Fair Work Commission over Qantas’ approach to ‘good faith bargaining’, and a protected action ballot after workers faced threats of outsourcing to coerce them into agreeing to work much longer hours with no extension of rest breaks.
Recently, the ASU vowed to fight Qantas over its attempt to strip 1300 workers of their collective agreement and push them onto individual contracts.
Since early 2020, workers who have not been illegally sacked or pushed out the door, have had a two-year unilateral wage freeze followed by threats of outsourcing, agreement terminations and payment bribes to accept deals of only 2% – now lifting by 1% – which leaves them far behind skyrocketing costs of living with no ability to negotiate in light of massive profit predictions.
Alan Joyce is expected to receive a pay packet of $8.7 million for FY22, while airline standards plummeted.
Qantas has admitted today that it fell far short of its performance target for September, only achieving a 2% improvement on its decimated service, blaming external factors and workers taking sick leave despite its own actions stripping back its workforce.
Qantas’ claim workers are earning on average over $100,000 also paints an entirely false picture. Qantas Ground Services workers are currently on a base salary of less than half this figure at $45,157.
Qantas received over $2 billion of government funding during covid in wage subsidies, financial support and fee-waiving, representing 57% of the total assistance given across the aviation industry.
TWU National Secretary Michael Kaine said:
“This is just more smoke and mirrors, crystal ball gazing and blame shifting from Alan Joyce. Wage results in Australia are decided through good faith bargaining with workers, unions, and employers – a concept lost on Joyce’s management team. This is Australia, not the Qantas dictatorship. There is an understanding in this country that workers have the right to negotiate collectively in respect of their fair share of the profits they generate.
“Workers have been forced to bear the brunt of Qantas’ mismanagement and tactics to illegally sack, threaten and squeeze pay and conditions. Qantas management under Joyce has treated its own workforce as its nemesis – workers have been villainised, victimised and are now being used as pawns in Qantas’ latest PR stunt.
“This destructive behaviour will continue from Qantas for as long it remains unchecked. The Federal Government must step in with a Safe and Secure Skies Commission to eradicate the dictatorship management style of Qantas executives hungry for bigger bonuses and restore aviation to an industry of good quality jobs and service.”
ASU Assistant National Secretary Emeline Gaske said:
“Qantas is attempting to strip 1300 workers of their collective agreement and bargaining rights. A unilateral decision to add 1% to workers covered by agreements is no relief to workers set to lose their entitlements built up over decades of negotiations.
“This PR stunt is of little financial concern to Qantas with massive profits forecast for next year, millions more in executive bonuses on the way, and a shrinking workforce because of its illegal outsourcing, offshoring, fanatical redundancies and attempts to strip workers of their hard-won pay and conditions.
“The ASU has vowed to draw a line in the sand and fight this every step of the way.”
FAAA Federal Secretary Teri O’Toole said:
“Just this week cabin crew have been pushed to the brink and filed applications in the Fair Work Commission for a protected action ballot and to challenge Qantas’ dictatorial approach to what should be good faith bargaining. For months crew have worked hard to attempt to get a fair agreement in place but have instead faced outsourcing threats and a game of snakes and ladders for Qantas to even agree to meet with us at times.
“Throwing an extra 1% at workers while forecasting $1.2 billion underlying profits and making every attempt under the sun to avoid collective bargaining and bully workers into accepting deals that severely decrease their entitlements and work life balance is an insult. We will continue to challenge this appalling behaviour by Qantas and get workers a better deal.”