Qantas to Let Independent Umpire Decide

Sydney, 21 November 2011

Qantas and the Transport Workers Union have failed to reach a new deal on pay and conditions for 3,800 employees, so there will now be binding arbitration by Fair Work Australia.

Qantas is extremely disappointed that despite over six months of negotiations and a further three weeks of conciliation talks before Fair Work Australia the TWU has refused to remove its unreasonable demands.

Qantas Chief Executive Officer Alan Joyce said while Qantas preferred option had been to resolve the dispute through negotiations, it was now time to let Fair Work Australia bring the matter to a close.

“We haven’t been able to reach a new agreement with the Transport Workers Union through negotiations so we will now let the independent umpire decide,” Mr Joyce said.

“We made a generous offer which included reasonable increases in pay and conditions, protections on the jobs of existing Qantas employees and Qantas maintaining the flexibility we need to run the airline. The union rejected this offer.”

“We did make some progress but we simply cannot agree to all of the union’s demands. We cannot give in to demands that we hand over control of parts of the airline to the union.”

“The union was asking us to break the law and agree to only use companies that have enterprise agreements in place with the TWU and to write this into a legal document. We simply could not agree to that.”

“After six months of negotiations including over 20 meetings, extending the talks by three weeks would not help us reach an agreement. We want to provide certainty for our customers and bring this issue to a close as quickly as possible.”

Fair Work Australia ordered the Transport Workers Union to stop all industrial action which means it cannot take any action during the arbitration period or for the term of the determination by the commission, which can be up to four years.

“Qantas customers have returned in large numbers since we resumed flying and they can continue to book flights with absolute confidence,” he said.

“If the TWU launch a legal challenge against the decision by Fair Work Australia to terminate all industrial action, the Federal Government has indicated that they will vigorously defend the decision and are confident the TWU will not be successful. We are right behind the Government on this.”

Issued by Qantas Corporate Communication (5334)