The move follows a resounding rejection by Jetstar employees last month of an agreement the company forced them to vote on. Representatives from Qantas/Jetstar Group at the Commission did not oppose the application and said on record that the TWU had been genuinely trying to reach agreement. The Commissioner was satisfied with this and with our evidence, and therefore made the Order.
The TWU held talks with Qantas/Jetstar Group after the vote in which the Union offered further compromises to its claim yet the company simply demanded that the Union tell its membership to vote for the agreement they already rejected.
As well as Jetstar Services, negotiations are also underway with Qantas Ground Services (QGS), where the same management is also taking the same position in negotiations with 2100 employees employed across Qantas Freight, and Qantas domestic and international. While the TWU has not applied for a protected action ballot at Qantas Ground Services, management is pursuing the same strategy as at Jetstar Services and a dispute would impact Qantas Freight, domestic and international operations.
“These are the lowest paid workers directly employed in the Qantas Group and their conditions are inferior as well. They are forced onto part-time hours and are struggling to support their families. We are prepared to be reasonable and want negotiations with management which address employees’ needs along with the company’s interests,” said TWU National Secretary Tony Sheldon.
“Just recently it was announced that Qantas/Jetstar Group is making a record billion dollar profit, while Jetstar’s half-year profits of $262 million to December 2016 were larger than any full-year profits. In spite of these outstanding results Jetstar’s employees are prepared to consider an 18-month wage freeze if improvements to working conditions can be agreed,” Sheldon added.
“Whether it is for employees at Jetstar Services, or QGS workers at Qantas Freight and Qantas, Qantas/Jetstar management need to do the right thing to avoid protected action across their businesses,” he said.
During negotiations Jetstar management:
• would not guarantee any full-time jobs
• refused to align job classifications along with others comparable in the industry
• offered a minimal towing allowance and training allowance that would not be payable to 96% of their workforce
• attempted to lock in 6-day working weeks without penalty rates for part time workers