Protesters are calling on airports, airlines and Governments to end the race to the bottom in aviation and ensure quality jobs.
The times and locations of the protests are:
Sydney Airport – 12pm international terminal
Melbourne Airport – 1pm – Qantas domestic terminal
Brisbane Airport – 10am – domestic terminal carpark walkway
Adelaide Airport – 10.30am – main entrance to terminal
The court case is being taken by Aerocare, which is at the centre of a scandal involving below poverty rates and staff sleeping at airports. But the case will have implications for all aviation employees and workers in other industries including nurses, aged care workers, electricians and shop workers.
“It is immoral that airports and airlines make billions of dollars in profit while employees in their supply chains struggle below the poverty line and are forced to sleep at airports because of low rates and split shifts. It is immoral that Governments are sitting on their hands and refusing to hold airports and airlines to account for these conditions. Today workers are taking a stand and saying it is time to hold this immoral behaviour to account,” said TWU National Secretary Tony Sheldon.
Airport employees on split shifts are forced to stay at work for 15 hours and more while being paid for as little as six hours. Australia’s four major airports – Sydney, Melbourne, Perth and Brisbane – reported a record-breaking $1.8bn profit according to Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s annual Airport Monitoring Report.
“The system is clearly broken when employers are allowed to game the system and profit from workers being forced onto degrading conditions. It is up to Governments to change the broken rules because the community are demanding it,” Sheldon added.
Working conditions and deliberate understaffing at airports are impacting on safety and security. Records from Sydney International Airport show, 132 injuries were reported over a one-year period, among a Aerocare staff of just 324. At Perth Airport passengers were allowed unsupervised onto a secure airside area to collect their own baggage when one Aerocare employee was made to unload an aircraft alone.
The Fair Work Commission last year rejected Aerocare’s new enterprise agreement, which again contains below award rates and illegal split shifts.