February 21, 2016

Jetstar Employees Reject Unfair Enterprise Agreement

TWU members campaigned against the company proposal which would have locked employees into a 4-year low-wage deal, enforced a wage freeze and by-passed penalty rates.


“I congratulate Jetstar employees on standing together and rejecting this proposal. These are the lowest paid workers directly employed in the Qantas Group and their conditions are inferior as well.  They are forced onto part-time hours and are struggling to support their families. We are prepared to be reasonable but it is difficult to deal with a management team which refuses to bargain in good faith,” said TWU National Secretary Tony Sheldon.


Management bypassed TWU worker representatives and forced a vote which has now failed. The company is refusing to release the final vote results. The TWU will seek to reengage in good faith negotiations, but cannot rule out future industrial action within Jetstar or the Qantas Group in general. The TWU is also negotiating with Qantas Ground Services, where employee concerns mirror many of those at Jetstar.


"This is a company which has profits of almost $1 billion and has given its chief executive a 500% increase in take home pay. At the same time it wants its employees to accept a wage freeze and pay and conditions which are significantly lower than Qantas Airways employees. On Friday employees sent a clear signal on this,” said Sheldon.


During negotiations Jetstar management:


  • refused to align job classifications along with others comparable in the industry
  • offered a minimal towing allowance and training allowance that would not be payable to 96% of their workforce
  • attempted to lock in 6-day working weeks without penalty rates for part time workers


Last December, the TWU was forced to apply to the Fair Work Commission for good faith bargaining orders against Jetstar in response to suggestions by Jetstar that it would ground the airline, similar to the 2011 action of its parent company Qantas.





A survey by the TWU of aviation employees shows two out of five are working part time on wages which puts many of them earning below the poverty line. Almost 70% of employees say their pay does not allow them to meet their costs while over three-quarters say they cannot afford to retire at 65. The information is contained in the report, The Qantas effect: the changing nature of aviation employment.


Qantas subsidiaries such as Qantas Ground Services employ no full-time staff. QGS started in 2009 and now employs over 1500 workers. The company only guarantees 20 hours a week. Almost 70% for QGS employees earn $700 or less per week, according to the survey.


Other survey results include:


  • Respondents place a high value on full time work with almost 60% saying full time work is important
  • Over 80% feel they do not have the power to change their rate of pay
  • Over 70% feel they do not have the power to change their part time situation
  • Most respondents believed that poor management (73%), unfair competition from international airlines (53%) and lack of government regulation (56%) are threatening the industry.

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