The TWU is demanding the Federal Government urgently introduce regulation to lift standards and attract skilled workers back to aviation, saying illegal outsourcing and insecure work is directly responsible for the long lines seen at airports today.
Exhausted aviation workers are being overwhelmed by surging passenger numbers in the lead up to the June long weekend, with long queues reported at airports around the country.
Aviation was in the grips of an insecure work crisis long before the pandemic, with airlines like Qantas restructuring work through shadow companies to attack strong workplace conditions. COVID-19 only ramped up the mass exodus of skilled workers from the industry, with some 12,500 workers turfed out because of the deliberate exclusion of ground crew and security staff from JobKeeper, and Qantas’ overzealous redundancies and illegal sacking of close to 2,000 workers.
Delays today mirror similar chaos seen over the Easter long weekend. At that time, Qantas management blamed passengers for not being ‘match-fit’ for travel, refusing to take responsibility for contributing to the crisis through its illegal outsourcing.
The TWU wants a Safe and Secure Skies Commission put in place to lift standards at the airport and end spiralling underemployment, with stressed out workers doing the same jobs on vastly different rates and conditions, jeopardising safety.
TWU National Secretary Michael Kaine alarm bells should have been ringing after the chaos passengers experienced on the Easter long weekend.
‘The definition of insanity is doing the same thing twice and expecting a different outcome. Little action has been taken since Easter to address the serious skills shortages we’ve seen in aviation caused by low wages, poor working conditions and collapsing safety standards’.
‘The workers that remain in the industry are under enormous pressure from airports and airlines to plug gaps and keep the gears moving. While the workers that remain are over-worked and stressed out, there’s hundreds of experienced workers forced to sit at home because their jobs were illegally stolen from them by Qantas through its shameful outsourcing’.
‘We are an island nation dependent on a viable aviation industry. It’s critical we fix this crisis’.
‘Nine long years of inaction has allowed this insecure work rot to set in. The newly minted Albanese Government must move quickly to fix it. Workers need an independent Commission with the power to lift standards and correct power imbalances within the industry. Lifting wages and reversing the skills exodus in aviation must be top of the agenda if we are to sustainably rebuild the industry’.
The Federal Court has on two occasions found Qantas illegally outsourced its ground crew to prevent them bargaining and taking industrial action. Qantas is dragging out legal proceedings by seeking unnecessary and costly leave to appeal to the High Court.