Australia’s Transport Workers’ Union (TWU) will apply to the Fair Work Commission for good faith bargaining orders against Jetstar. The union is seeking the orders in response to what it says are threats by Jetstar to ground the airline, similar to the 2011 action of its parent company Qantas.
According to a report in the Australian Financial Review, however, sources are denying any such threats were made in the manner the union portrays, saying comments made at the negotiating table have been misrepresented.
“The travelling public has a right to know that at Christmas time they are being used as pawns by Jetstar in how it treats its workforce. Hardworking aviation workers have a right to negotiate for better conditions without being threatened with being shut out of their jobs,” TWU National Secretary Tony Sheldon.
“Aviation is an industry marked by the fact that 21% earn below the poverty line of AUD 863 for a couple with two children. Jetstar is owned by Qantas, a company which today forecast it will make up to AUD 1 billion profit in the first six months of 2016. While its workforce are struggling to pay bills the company is paying its chief executive AUD 12 million,” Sheldon said.
“Management have refused to constructively discuss our claims to ensure the workforce is able to earn a decent and fair wage. Jetstar’s tactics are more akin to the bargaining style of 18th century Victorian industrialists rather than a modern airline,” he added.
The TWU has written to Jetstar ahead of lodging an application to the Fair Work Commission today under the Fair Work Act 2009 which dictates that bargaining representatives must meet good faith bargaining requirements.
Qantas, an increasingly profitable airline, has now finalised 21 enterprise Bargaining Agreements (EBAs) with its workforce. Provisions of these include a pay freeze in exchange for a 5% bonus for more than 10,000 staff including pilots, cabin crew and engineers, some of whom are TWU members.
Edited by Peter Needham