22-Mar-2011 11:41 AM

Qantas staff unite over strike action

Australia’s Transport Workers Union, which represent Qantas aircraft refuellers, baggage and logistics staff, announced they have had partnered with Qantas pilots and engineers to support job security clauses aimed at limiting the use of cheaper contract workers (The Australian/AAP, 22-Mar-2011). Industrial action at the airline could reportedly involve up to 9000 union members, with the TWU seeking annual 4% pay rises and extra employer superannuation contributions from Qantas. Qantas expressed its “extreme disappointment” at the unions, which the airline stated were threatening industrial action and a difficult time for the airlines as it attempts to deal with “an underperforming international business and the operational impact of natural disasters in New Zealand, Japan and Australia”. The airline has struck an in-principle agreement with the Australian Services Union, which represents check-in and administrative staff to deliver annual pays rises of 3%. The Australian Licensed Aircraft Engineers Association announced it would not take any industrial action over the busy Easter period, or during any other peak period for the airline.

Transport Workers Union: "Over the past few years, Qantas has made it clear to the workforce that the undermining of wages and conditions and job security is part of its business model. Job security will, without a doubt, be part of these negotiations with our workplace committee, and if a settlement is not reached, industrial action is definitely on the table and will be put to the members." Tony Sheldon, secretary. Source: The Australian, 22-Mar-2011.

Qantas: “These so-called job security claims are actually about removing any flexibility that the company has to respond to changing operating conditions, and we have seen in the past six months just how volatile the aviation industry can be." Spokesperson. Source: The Australian, 22-Mar-2011.

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