Aviation unions the FAAA and TWU have slammed Qantas punishing workers for saying no to uncertainty and wage decline following two years of stand-downs and brave volunteering to repatriate Australians.
Qantas has lodged an application to terminate its agreement with long-haul international flight crew, slashing their pay by an enormous 30-50% to revert to Award wages and conditions rather than negotiating in good faith. Unions have committed to vigorously oppose the application.
In December, six months after negotiations began for a new enterprise agreement for long-haul international cabin crew, workers voted emphatically with a 97% rejection of an agreement that would have seen pay go backwards and rosters become unreasonably haphazard.
Unions and workers were ready to return to the negotiation table to resolve the outstanding issues. This included finding a better solution than workers being asked to be on standby and unable to plan their lives or safely manage their fatigue for two out of every four weeks, 12 rosters a year.
FAAA Federal Secretary Teri O’Toole said: “These are heroes of the pandemic who sacrificed their own health to bring stranded Australians home. They have been on the frontline of the pandemic since the early days, and have faced stand downs up to 20 months, far longer than any other industry.
“Workers have been negotiating in good faith since June and had agreed to, or put a reasonable counter-offer, to many of the airline’s claims. After one strong vote against an unfair agreement that asked too much of crew and their families, Qantas throws in the towel and uses it as an excuse to attack pay and conditions.
“A 97% rejection of an agreement should be heard and a compromise sought, but instead Qantas has chosen to punish its loyal and suffering workforce.”
TWU Assistant National Secretary Nick McIntosh said: “This is the appalling behaviour we’ve come to expect of today’s Qantas management who have the audacity to continue operating under the ‘spirit of Australia’ slogan. We will continue to fight every day against the worker abuse from this callous corporate dictatorship.
“During this pandemic, Qantas executives have illegally sacked 2000 workers, pocketed sick leave and JobKeeper entitlements, suspended a health and safety representative raising legitimate concerns, and imposed unilateral wage freezes while collecting pay rises and bonuses themselves. Now, slashing cabin crew by 30% and stripping them of hard-won conditions can be added to the list.
“Scott Morrison is Qantas management’s biggest enabler. Throughout the abhorrent, even unlawful, behaviour and abuse of power, Morrison has continued to provide no-strings funding to the airline and said nothing over its mistreatment of workers.