The Aerocare agreement, which the company is today pushing to approve at a Brisbane hearing of the Fair Work Commission, will see workers paid below award rates for weekend work, overtime and night-time work. It will guarantee staff no more than 60 hours work per month and force them onto split shifts, which are prohibited under the award.
“Aerocare is trying to game the system in a race to the bottom in aviation. It is using the industrial relations route to rip its employees off and pay them below the minimum threshold. Its new agreement will see staff wages cut over the four years it will operate when inflation is factored in. Aerocare employees are already low paid and endure split shifts.
They have high injury rates with 132 injuries at Sydney International Airport over a one year period among a staff of just 326. The Fair Work Commission needs to protect these workers and throw out this shoddy agreement,” said TWU National Secretary Tony Sheldon.
The TWU analysis of the Aerocare agreement taking into account the lower rates shows:
· One employee working an average of 37 hours per week will be paid $3,901 which is $1,129 below the award
· One employee working an average of 32 hours per week will be paid $3,240 which is $590 below the award
The analysis is based on rosters and wage slips provided by employees across the company. Aerocare refused to provide the TWU with any information which would allow an assessment of the agreement to see if it meets the “better off overall test” when compared with the award.
“This agreement will see more employees forced to sleep at airports and in their cars because they can’t afford to go home between split shifts. It will see more injuries because workers are fatigued from spending long days at the airport, while only getting paid for a few hours. The Federal Government is supporting companies like Aerocare while working families are being trampled on and our economy is in danger of faltering because of low wage growth,” Sheldon added.
Concerns were raised over the vote on the Aerocare agreement, which was passed after a rushed vote held over the Easter weekend. The vote was not a secret ballot or done independently but was carried out on the internal online system where voters were sent an email confirming how they had cast their ballot. Aerocare confirmed in a letter ahead of the vote that there would be “no scrutineers” overseeing the process.
Casual employees were excluded from voting on the agreement, which is estimated to number over 1,000 employees.