Aerocare, a ground handling services company employing 3,000 people, sent correspondence to the Fair Work Commission which alleged Commission files had been tampered with. However, records of emails between the company’s representatives and the Commission show the company knew this was not the case, since they accessed the files last July.
Today after Aerocare was caught out it announced that “in light of” this information it was withdrawing its case.
“There appears to be no depth to which this company will not stoop to in order to continue exploiting its workforce. The TWU is legitimately challenging Aerocare’s system of low rates and appalling conditions, which see workers forced to sleep at airports and struggle on poverty wages. But because they are defending the indefensible the company has resorted to lies and fabrications,” said TWU Acting National Secretary Michael Kaine.
“Aerocare’s workforce deserve to be treated fairly and the TWU will continue to fight their cause regardless of what the company throws at us. We call on the airports and airlines which benefit from this exploitative model to hold them to account,” he added.
Today’s controversy follows a long list of Aerocare fabrications:
- In March after media aired footage showing bedding at Sydney Airport where workers slept between split shifts, the bedding was cleared immediately and Aerocare denied it ever existed. See images of before and after the clean-up: http://www.twu.com.au/home/campaigns/home-campaigns-aero-care-/truth-revealed–appalling-conditions-before-and-af/
- Aerocare afterwards made a statement that along with the Australian Border Force it had conducted an investigation and that “all parties confirm” that “they have found nothing to substantiate the existence of ‘camps’ where people are sleeping on site”. The TWU wrote to the Australian Border Force asking them about this investigation and was told in reply by Tim Fitzgerald, Regional Commander NSW, that: “The Australian Border Force has not conducted an investigation into this matter and has had no direct communication with Aerocare on this topic”.
- Aerocare last month in communication to its workforce wrote that “most of you campaigned for the continued option of working a broken shift”. This refers to split shifts which see workers forced to stay at airports for up to 17 hours a day while being paid for as little as six hours.
- ABC obtained evidence regarding a former Aerocare worker at Brisbane Airport who called an ambulance after suffering severe dehydration at work one day. Aerocare denied the incident even took place. The ABC has broadcast a recording of the 000 call the employee made on the day.
- Aerocare regularly denies it has a high injury rate among workers. Records from Sydney International Airport show, 132 injuries were reported over a one year period, among a staff of just 324.
Aerocare is separately today appealing a Fair Work Commission rejection in August of its 2017 enterprise agreement, over illegal split shifts and below award rates.
The TWU’s challenge to the 2012 agreement is based on the fact that its conditions and rates are even worse.