December 12, 2016

New Sydney Airport Must Provide Quality Jobs, TWU Warns

The plan to be announced today for a second airport in Sydney must come with a strategy for decent jobs in Western Sydney rather than the forced part-time, casual work which plague the aviation industry at present, TWU National Secretary Tony Sheldon said.


“The Government can and must ensure that the new Sydney airport provides full time work with good wages and conditions. We have an underemployment problem in Australia and we also have potential for economic slowdown. What we do not need are more jobs which see people working below the poverty line,” he said.


“Jobs created in airports across the country over the past 10 years have been insecure and low waged. They do not provide for careers that allow people to live dignified lives. In many cases aviation workers are struggling to pay bills, take out bank loans and provide for their families,” Sheldon added.


The aviation industry is booming. Australia’s four main airports last year increased their revenues to almost $3 billion, according to a report by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission. Qantas posted a record profit of $1 billion this year.


By contrast, almost 70% of aviation employees surveyed* said their pay does not allow them to meet their costs while over three-quarters say they cannot afford to retire at 65.


A recent international report** on conditions for aviation workers shows that a low wages is leading to a high turnover of staff which is creating security risks and safety hazards. It highlights Sydney airport where “at any one time there are hundreds of workers with a temporary pass, those who have not yet had background security checks”.


* Click here for TWU survey: The Qantas effect: the changing nature of aviation


** Click here for International Transport Workers’ Federation report: Record profits for airlines; airport workers under pressure

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