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Noisy protests at airports around Australia scheduled today

August 21, 2019 Headline News No Comments Email Email

Airport workers around Australia are set to stage “noisy” protests at major airports today in a struggle for better pay and guaranteed hours – but the scene won’t be like Hong Kong.

The protests will not aim to disrupt flights.

Up to 200 workers are expected to protest for about an hour across five airports, with rallies in Perth, Coolangatta and Adelaide beginning at 11am, in Sydney at 12.15pm and Melbourne at 1pm, a spokesperson for the Transport Workers Union (TWU) told the Canberra Times.

Workers have served claims on Sydney and all main airports, calling for the same pay for the same job, regardless of which company engages workers; secure work with well-trained permanent full-time jobs; safety and security as a number one priority (rather than a focus on contracting work at the lowest cost possible, which unions say is the case at the moment).

“We’re not intending to cause disruption and our protesters won’t be walking off the job, there won’t be any strikes,” union spokeswoman Judith Crosbie told news agency AAP yesterday.

The TWU says that earlier this month the Fair Work Commission terminated the 2012 enterprise agreement of Swissport, a ground services company, because its rates and conditions were below the award.

Baggage handlers, ramp workers, caterers, airline cleaners and check-in staff are forced to struggle on as few as 60 hours guaranteed a month, said TWU National Secretary, Michael Kaine.

A recent TWU protest

Kaine said that Sydney International Airport notched up 134 injury incidents among a Swissport staff of 326.

“Security incidents are also common, including passengers at one airport allowed airside to collect their baggage after a baggage handler was left alone to unload an entire aircraft,” he said.

The airport claim is part of a recently announced TWU plan to mount widespread industrial action next year as 200 enterprise agreements covering 38,000 transport workers expire.

Written by Peter Needham

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