Aerocare, a ground handling services company employing 3,000 people, is today appealing a Fair Work Commission rejection in August of its 2017 enterprise agreement, because it contained illegal split shifts and below award rates.
On Friday the company will try to stop the TWU challenging the 2012 agreement, whose even poorer conditions led to the media exposé earlier this year of working and safety conditions at Aerocare.
The Transport Workers’ Union is calling on airports and airlines to take responsibility for Aerocare’s appalling conditions, since they benefit from the low cost, exploitative model.
“Aerocare is this week fighting at the Fair Work Commission for the right to be able to exploit its workforce. They are fighting to be allowed to keep gaming the system. Their actions are intolerable but they have huge support to continue with this system and to defend it. Qantas made $1.4 billion in the past year while the four main airports made $1.6 billion profits. These profits are being generated because aviation employees are being exploited through low rates and split shifts, which sees workers forced to stay at the airports for up to 17 hours a day while being paid for just six hours,” said TWU National Secretary Tony Sheldon.
“The TWU has written to the airlines and airports about this problem but they are refusing to own up to it. Aviation employment in Australia is marked by casualisation, forced part-time work, high turnover rates, low pay and poor conditions. This is creating safety and security problems at our airports and forcing families onto the poverty line,” he added.
This week in a separate case, the Fair Work Commission criticised as “ludicrous” the defence by Qantas of underpaying employees who help transfer elderly and disabled passengers around airports.
A 2015 survey of aviation workers shows 42% are on part-time hours while 76% said they would not be able to afford to retire at 65. (The Qantas Effect: the changing nature of aviation employment).
The Qantas Effect: the changing nature of aviation employment: www.twu.com.au/the-qantas-effect/