August 15, 2019
The Transport Workers’ Union has criticised Sydney Airport for slashing jobs and profiting unfairly from the wage theft of airport workers, who struggle on part-time jobs and low rates.
Half year results show the airport cut jobs by 8%, while revenues rose and shareholders are set to be paid dividends.
“Sydney Airport is today in its report trying to sell itself as a ‘sustainable leader’ yet nothing could be further from the truth. It has sacrificed jobs and allowed wage theft to continue right under its nose while it grows its revenue. Workers at Sydney Airport are being ripped off with low rates, forced to struggle on part-time hours and even forced to sleep at the airport because of gruelling split shifts. Airports like Sydney and the airlines operating at them are the central cause of this jobs crisis: they demand lower contract prices for work from aviation companies resulting in workers being ripped off. Airports and airlines at the top are profiting from this unjust dynamic,” said TWU National Secretary Michael Kaine.
Workers will protest at Sydney Airport and other airports around the country next Wednesday to highlight the inequity and will call on the airport authorities to take responsibility for low wages and poor conditions.
Workers have served claims on Sydney and all main airports, calling for the same pay for the same job, regardless of which company engages workers; secure work with well-trained permanent full-time jobs; safety and security as a number one priority, rather than a focus on contracting work at the lowest cost possible. The claim is part of the plan announced recently by the TWU for widespread industrial action next year as 200 enterprise agreements covering 38,000 transport workers expire.
Two weeks ago the Fair Work Commission terminated the 2012 enterprise agreement of scandal-ridden Swissport, a ground services company, because its rates and conditions were below the award. The company has been exposed over its workers on split shifts forced to sleep at Sydney Airport and safety issues which sees high injury rates among staff.
“For seven years Swissport have been ripping their workers off and this is linked to Sydney Airport’s profits. It is time this wage theft ended and that airport workers are treated fairly. Safety and security are also at risk daily because of deliberate under-staffing and a high turnover rate which results in a lack of experienced, trained staff who have full security clearance,” Kaine added.
Baggage handlers, ramp workers, caterers, airline cleaners and check-in staff are forced to struggle on as few as 60 hours guaranteed a month.
At Sydney International Airport there were 134 injury incidents among a Swissport staff of 326.
Security incidents are also common, including passengers at one airport allowed airside to collect their baggage after a baggage handler was left alone to unload an entire aircraft
For video and pictures of breaches at Swissport/Aerocare: https://www.twu.com.au/companies/aerocare/aerocare-workplace-conditions-and-safety-breaches/