The Qantas Sale Act of 1992 requires Qantas to keep its headquarters in Australia and remain majority Australian-owned. But unions fear that the airline could seek to circumvent those requirements by employing more maintenance workers in Asia at its budget carrier Jetstar and other future offshoots.
The Transport Workers’ Union (TWU) is seeking the support of New South Wales Labor to ask the Federal Government to extend the Qantas Sales Act to include Jetstar.
At the NSW Labor Conference, TWU National Secretary Tony Sheldon called on the Government to do just that. The resolution calls for all aviation workers – including overseas based flight attendants – to receive Australian standards of wages and conditions.
Sheldon says the decision by Alan Joyce, Leigh Clifford and Qantas management “to transfer important and profitable regional and international routes from Qantas to Jetstar indicates a deliberate strategy to let Qantas decay and then flog off Jetstar.
“All the rhetoric in the world from Alan Joyce and Leigh Clifford can’t distract from the fact that Qantas has slashed quality and service and that it’s share price has plummeted 65% in three years while in that same period, they increased their own salaries 82%.
“The Qantas Sale Act was put in place to safeguard the future of aviation in Australia. Extending the Act to include Jetstar will ensure the airline remains Australian owned, providing a safe and secure Australian aviation industry for the future.
“The decision of Qantas/Jetstar management to outsource or offshore existing work, thereby lowering pay and service standards is fundamentally inconsistent with maintaining a strong Australian national carrier.”
Sheldon said that foreign flight crew were being paid as little as AUD400 a month and were working dangerous schedules.
“This resolution calls on the Australian Government to ensure that Fair Work principles are applied to anyone working in Australia. The current situation is a concerted effort to circumvent Australian legislation on workers rights.”
Text of the Resolution:
NSW Labor supports safe and secure Australian skies
The Qantas Sale Act was put in place by Labor to safeguard the future of aviation in Australia. NSW Labor calls on the Australian Government to strengthen the Act to include Jetstar and any other airline owned by the Qantas Group.
NSW Labor calls on the Australian government to enforce Fair Work principles by requiring airlines to provide Australian wages and conditions to all aviation workers, including those based overseas, because all workers performing work in Australia should receive Australian standards of wages and conditions.
Qantas/Jetstar management’s decision to outsource or offshore existing work, thereby lowering pay and service standards is fundamentally inconsistent with maintaining a strong Australian national carrier, with safe and secure Australian skies.
Qantas’ decision to attack its own workforce, and its disastrous and unjustified decision to shut down all aviation services without notice on 29 October 2011 is ideologically driven employer militancy, and provides a warning to the Australian community about the type of anti-worker employer militancy that would be encouraged under by a Tony Abbott Liberal-National government.
Written by : Peter Needham