QANTAS MEMBERS FIGHT FOR SAFE SKIES


Sixteen-month campaign ends with improved rights and entitlements.

Thousands of Qantas workers stood staunch during the long campaign that culminated in Alan Joyce’s disgraceful grounding of the airline. The arbitration process was intense. There were 77 hours of hearings over 11 days, and your union provided testimony from 40 members, and expert witnesses. The case was before Fair Work Australia for 250 days, with nearly 1,000 pages of transcripts and a TWU summary of 129 pages.

WHAT YOU ACHIEVED

  • Back-pay from July, 2011
  • Three per cent annually for three years
  • Job security: no compulsory redundancies as a direct consequence of Qantas using QGS or other labour-hire workers
  • A two-year EBA, expiring July, 2014
  • A better deal for part-timers
  • Minimum two days off for shift workers in each 14-day period
  • 10 per cent superannuation for all employees
  • Paid time off to respond to proposals and prepare in-house bids for work that is contracted out by Qantas Better training
  • Right-of-access provisions for your workplace representatives

CHECK YOUR PAY

The company fought desperately to prevent the awarding of back-pay, but your case was endorsed by Fair Work Australia. Make sure to look at your pay slip to ensure the raises and back-pay are correct.  You should have been on your new rate since September 11. That is the same date your 2011/12 back-pay should have been processed. Back-pay from July to September, 2012 will be paid on October 9.

Thanks to the rank-and-file EBA committee

Special recognition goes to your reps on the Committee: Wayne Bailey, Jason ‘Jack’ Frost, Grant Mitchell, Peter Seage, Scott Connolly, and Peter Paulos. Queensland members pay tribute to the other Branches’ representatives. ACT/NSW: Frank Crescenti, Michael Krishna, George Oei, Chris O’Grady, Joseph Whitby, Dennis Pehar, and Mick Pieri. SA/NT: Neil Fyfe, Frank Manocchio, Andrew Matisons, and Matthew Spring. VIC/TAS: Greg Bird, Graham Brady, Don Dixon, Peter Mancuso, Jim Mitropoulos, Colin Phillips, David Smith, George Stella, Wayne Mader, Dissio Markos. WA: Mark Bebich, Michael De Vincentis, Allan Scroop.

Reverse Midas touch

Of course, none of this would have happened to a manager. This sort of abuse is reserved for the people turning the planes around.

READERS will remember Graham Brierley’s lament, in the last edition of On The Move, at Qantas’ exceedingly poor employee relations within its sick corporate culture.

Alas, Qantas management managed to lower the bar further when it came to paying Graham his enttitlements after 43 years’ hard work and loyalty.

Graham gave his managers six weeks’ notice of his retirement. A month after his retirement — 10 weeks after he gave his notice — he came to see me to say he still hadn’t been paid his entitlements.

I rang port manager Ardon Goulding and she admitted she had stuffed up and sent the paperwork to the wrong place. But she was ducking and weaving, askin, ‘Why are you ringing me?’

‘I’m ringing you because it is supposed to take three days for someone to receive their entitlements,’ I replied. ‘But Graham is treated like this after 43 years’ service. You don’t really care that he hasn’t received his entitlements.’

It was pathetic.

So I called Alex Jefferis, the Cairns manager, who admitted that Qantas’ response was unacceptable. He finally got Graham’s entitlements sorted a week later.

Of course, none of this would have happened to a manager. This sort of abuse is reserved for the people turning the planes around.

It only took five weeks for Qantas to give a veteran employee his entitlements — more than 11 times longer than company protocol.

No wonder Alan Joyce can’t turn a profit …

Last month’s announcement of the first loss for Qantas since privatisation 17 years ago — a calamitous $245m for the full year — further solidifies Alan Joyce’s reputation as the man with the reverse Midas touch. In the time he has been ‘leading’ the company, there has not been a single dividend to shareholders. To add insult to injury, they have watched the share price fall 54 per cent during that same period. It isn’t just investors who have no confidence in Alan Joyce’s performance. A recent industry survey found that 82 per cent of Qantas employees do not believe that management is taking the company in the right direction. By contrast, at Virgin only 1.5 per cent of employees believe the company is not going in the right direction. With the latest rubbish results — and the corresponding announcement that $8.5b in orders of 787-9s had been cancelled — the inescapable conclusion that the company is trying to kill Qantas International only grew firmer. Alan Joyce even had the nerve to cite high fuel costs while cancelling the acquisition of fuel-efficient planes! As respected commentator Ben Sandilands wrote: The very act of cancelling those orders is of direct benefit to Virgin Airlines alliance partner Singapore Airlines, a 787-9 customer that had been adversely affected by the program’s delay; has an expressed intention to use the Dreamliners to replace its fleet of A330s; and can now look forward to deploying them as a support airliner to its A380s on its multi-daily services to Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and Perth much sooner than it had hoped. Sandilands added, ‘… without that expenditure the value of Qantas as a brand and product of diminishing relevance to travellers will implode. Qantas isn’t just losing customers, but experienced pilots, engineers, and executives to Virgin Australia and foreign carriers.’

THE FIGHT CONTINUES

The aviation industry is crucial to Australians, to our economy and our national security. Permanent, well-paid aviation jobs are the backbone of the industry. That’s why we are determined to ensure the aviation industry continues to call Australian home, now and into the future. Our campaign for ‘Safe and Secure Australian Skies’, in partnership with other aviation unions, was recently launched in Darwin. We celebrated the proud legacy of Qantas civil aviation workers through aviation history in time of war, terrorism and natural disaster. Qantas workers have always been integral to protecting Australia’s national interest and this landmark campaign will fight to continue this proud tradition by securing permanent, well-paying aviation jobs within Australia.

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