March 16, 2016

Government Does Deal With Qatar Airways Despite Employee Abuses

The Australian Government has announced an increase in capacity between Qatar and Australia to allow Qatar Airways access to Brisbane airport. A condition of the arrangement is that Qatar Airways will have to first enter Australia through a non-gateway city such as Darwin before travelling through to Brisbane. This will see Qatar Airways run domestic routes in Australia.


The United Nations Labour body, the International Labour Organisation has prosecuted Qatar Airways for sacking staff when they get pregnant. Other abuses include constant surveillance of staff, searching accommodation while crew members are on a flight to monitor mandatory 12-hour resting rule before work and control of female staff including rules forbidding travel to and from company premises with a man other than their father, brother or husband.


“The TWU has publicly raised our member’s concerns about discriminatory policies at Qatar Airways,” said Tony Sheldon, TWU National Secretary. “It’s not right that a foreign company can influence the Government to obtain benefits in spite of the their poor record whilst the concerns of Australian workers are ignored.”


Brisbane based Australian flight attendant Madeline said, “My colleagues and I have worked hard to win workplace conditions like domestic violence leave. It’s alarming to us the Government is allowing a foreign carrier that mistreats women workers free reign to do as they will in our airspace”.


Sheldon continued; “The TWU has called on the Government to include labour standards in all Air Services Treaties and Trade Agreements to ensure they do not disproportionately focus on economic considerations above labour and human rights standards,” said Sheldon.


“Instead of leading the way in labour and human rights, the Government’s actions are forcing Australian Aviation companies to compete at the level of foreign carriers who undermine the freedoms and standards that Australians have long fought for in order to remain competitive.”

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