Staff at Q Catering have opposed being paid, in some cases, several hundred dollars less per week after Qantas abolished a higher role classification. Witnesses will tell a Fair Work Commission hearing that they continue to perform the same duties – but at less pay.
“This move by Qantas amounts to robbery from the pay checks of low paid workers. Qantas makes billions of dollars in profits and pays its top executives handsomely. Downgrading work and paying people less who have mortgages and bills to pay and families to support is disgraceful,” said Tony Sheldon TWU National Secretary.
Mark Godwin, a Q Catering employee at Perth Airport, will give evidence that he now performs even more duties since his job was downgraded and that the move, “does not warrant $300 a week cut to my wages”.
“For the 10 years I completed the supervisory role as a level eight my duties remained similar or the same. As a level six I complete substantially the same role with a few minor changes in terms of operational reporting lines,” said Adam Vanderplank, Q Catering employee at Perth airport, in a witness statement.
Qantas announced the changes in September 2016, telling staff at the time their downgraded roles would be substantially different. Since then the wealthy airline has been locked in a dispute with employees who have seen their wages significantly reduced.
In the six months to last December, Qantas posted profits of $852 million.
“This is about fairness and recognising the hard work Qantas employees have done, including enduring wage freezes, to make the airline profitable. These employees should not have this commitment ignored and they should not be forced to earn less pay for doing the exact same job,” Sheldon added.