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Qantas Responds to SMH Article on Casual Flight Attendants

Sydney, 16 April 2007

Qantas said today that its casual Flight Attendant arrangements were in line with standard industry practice, and had been agreed between Qantas and the short haul division of the FAAA.

Responding to a story in the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age, Qantas Executive General Manager John Borghetti said casual Flight Attendants, who operated on short haul services, were paid a loading in lieu of sick leave, annual leave and long service leave under an enterprise agreement with the FAAA.

"Casual Flight Attendants are also paid exactly the same travelling allowances as other short haul Qantas Flight Attendants," Mr Borghetti said.

He said Qantas mainline operated around 2,500 flights a week across an extensive network in Australia and overseas, using a range of aircraft types.

"To do this efficiently requires considerable flexibility, which is why we have agreements in place with both FAAA divisions with regard to overseas bases, casual Flight Attendants and shared short haul and long haul flying.

"I am surprised to see Michael Mijatov from the Long Haul FAAA criticising the very arrangements agreed to by his union, and strictly adhered to by Qantas," Mr Borghetti said.

He said Qantas had more than 6,000 Flight Attendants in permanent full- and part-time positions, as well as sourcing casual Flight Attendants from Maurice Alexander Management (MAM), and made no apology for matching its cabin crew resourcing to suit its operation.

"The alternative would be an unproductive and inefficient business that would be unable to grow," he said.

In relation to conditions for casual staff, Mr Borghetti said:
* The $49 cheque required for the interview process was for an ASIC security check, was required for all Australian airline employees, and applied to every person applying for work at Qantas;
* Medical checks were required for all Flight Attendants - permanent and casual - as is standard industry practice; and
* First aid certificates and Responsible Service of Alcohol certificates were - again - standard prerequisites for all Flight Attendants.

"Qantas' cabin crew are professional, hard working and respected employees, and they deserve better than to have the Long Haul FAAA - an organisation that is supposed to represent them - circulating misleading and inaccurate information," Mr Borghetti said.

Issued by Qantas Corporate Communication (3563)
Email: qantasmedia@qantas.com.au