Qantas To Renew Union Negotiations

Sydney, 22 January 2002

Qantas announced today that EBA negotiations with the Transport Workers Union would recommence shortly following the narrow defeat in a union ballot of a national delegates committee recommendation to accept the Qantas wage pause proposal.

The vote followed closely the overwhelming endorsement by Qantas members of the Australian Services Union for an agreement that covers 9000 Qantas staff. The results of the ASU vote were declared late last week.

In addition to the in-principle agreements for a wage pause with 10 Qantas unions, successful staff ballots have now concluded with the ASU, the Flight Attendants Association of Australia (short haul division), the Australian Liquor and Hospitality Miscellaneous Workers Union (ALHMWU), the Communications, Electrical, Electronic, Plumbing and Allied Services Union (CEPU), the Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU) and the Australian Licensed Aircraft Engineers Association (ALAEA).

Three Qantas agreements with engineering unions - CEPU, CPSU, ALHMWU - were certified by the Australian Industrial Relations Commission yesterday. The AIRC rejected an attempt by the AMWU to stall certification of these agreements.

Executive General Manager Human Resources Kevin Brown said Qantas was extremely pleased that by a majority of 4 to 1, the 9,000 staff covered by an EBA with the ASU had endorsed both the wages pause and improvements to Qantas conditions, including improved access to staff travel and paid maternity leave.

"This vote confirms that most Qantas staff and unions appreciate the range of issues affecting Qantas and bodes well for us moving forward to meet the challenges which 2002 will bring," he said.

"By comparison with the ASU agreement, the TWU vote is a disappointment. The proposed agreement was negotiated with full involvement of delegates from around Australia, was supported by a majority of the TWU national delegates committee and was actively pursued by the union leadership. However, although the proposal was strongly supported by TWU members in airports, it was defeated overall by a negative vote in the catering centres."

Mr Brown said the TWU vote demonstrated the challenge both Qantas and some unions still faced in coming to terms with the dramatic changes occurring in the aviation industry around the world.

"Qantas remains hopeful of concluding an agreement with the TWU which incorporates our key objectives of a 12 month wage pause, along with staff access to a generous incentive scheme if profit targets for this financial year are met. We do not expect the outcome of the TWU vote will impact on our operations," he said.

Issued by Qantas Corporate Communication (2591)
Media Contact: Des Sullivan - Telephone (02) 9691 3742