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Delegation meets Abbott to lobby for their Qantas jobs

March 21, 2014 Aviation, Headline News 1 Comment Email Email

egtmedia59A national delegation of aviation and manufacturing unions met with Prime Minister Tony Abbott yesterday and demanded to know why the government won’t stand up for Qantas jobs in Australia.

Qantas employs about 33,000 staff and plans to shrink its workforce by 5000. Unions fear that if the government goes ahead and changes the Qantas Sale Act (which ensures the airline remains majority Australian owned), management may lay off Australian workers and offshore much of the maintenance.

The Australian Services Union (ASU) warned of the damage that changes to the Qantas Sale Act would have on Qantas workers and their communities. 250x250

ASU assistant national secretary Linda White pointed out that the Qantas Sale Act required Qantas headquarters to be in Australia, which currently protected Australian jobs.

“The Qantas Sale Act requires certain functions to be performed in Australia. This includes thousands of skilled, safety sensitive jobs that would be in jeopardy if the Government changes the Qantas Sale Act,” she said.

“We are here today to warn of the risks of amending the Qantas Sale Act. Prime Minister Tony Abbott doesn’t seem to comprehend the damage this will do to our local economy and the reputation of our national airline.

“Any changes to the Sale Act will lead to mass offshoring of white collar jobs. We know that once jobs are offshored they never come back. At a time when Australia is facing the highest unemployment figures in more than a decade, the Government should be acting to keep jobs on our shores rather than making it easier for Qantas to send these high skilled aviation jobs offshore.

Transport Workers’ Union national secretary Tony Sheldon, who also accompanied the delegation, called on the Abbott Government to adopt industrial relations reform that stops companies outsourcing to bogus labour hire firms.

“Qantas is exploiting IR loopholes to reinvent full-time Australian jobs as part-time, insecure work with bogus labour hire firms” Sheldon said.

“These companies, like QGS – a wholly owned Qantas subsidiary – are set up for the sole purpose of exploiting working communities and driving down Australian working conditions.

“It is on this Government’s watch that QGS workers employ family breadwinners at AUD 200 below the weekly minimum wage – while Qantas retains 65% of the domestic market.

“The Abbott Government must hold Alan Joyce and the Qantas Board to account for their bad decisions that are now costing the Australian community.

“The Government and Qantas need to commit to a fair and even playing field for family incomes across the aviation industry.

“The workforce has made it clear it wants to discuss cost-saving measures to mitigate job cuts, but the company simply isn’t interested.

“Taxpayers, the Prime Minister and Qantas workers have a right to insist that the airline open its books for forensic analysis and make a commitment to: explain the circumstances that have led to the culling of jobs; provide details of Qantas’ strategy to return to profitability; discuss cost-saving to mitigate proposed job losses; rethink the failed Jetstar Asia strategy, which was the cause of Qantas’ half year loss.

Sheldon said the Qantas workforce was highly productive, and loyal to the airline where many had worked for decades.

He said that on 27 February 2014, Qantas management reported that workforce productivity had increased by more than 22% in recent years.

He also noted that, despite repeated promises of a pay freeze for executives, executive pay at Qantas has risen by 82% since 2010.

And he referred to a 2011 Oxford Economics study, which he said found that each Qantas baggage handler, check-in staff and ramp worker generated a AUD 205,000 return to Qantas above the cost of their employment.

Written by : Peter Needham

Currently there is "1 comment" on this Article:

  1. bruce weston says:

    the amount of fiddles in their system is unbelievable it is a wonder qantas can even fly at all with certain area ‘wages’ and conditions way way out of kilter with anywhere else – keep going unions – send them down like cars a few more ‘arranged ‘ faults no doubt ,too bad no one will have a job to collect all the union ‘gains ‘ and get rid of that irish bloke as well – Only the public will benefit in cheaper flights boo hoo

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