Qantas reaches agreements with storeworkers and cabin crew while TWU to cause more disruptions to customers

Sydney, 12 October 2011

Qantas has this week finalised another Enterprise Bargaining Agreement, this time with members of the National Union of Workers (NUW). This is in addition to the in-principle agreement reached last week with the union covering short-haul cabin crew.

The new NUW and employee endorsed Agreement covers 360 storeworkers employed nationwide in engineering, catering and freight facilities and includes three per cent pay increases over three years and as well as a one per cent increase on transition to a new pay increment structure.

The in-principle agreement with the Flight Attendants Association of Australia (FAAA) which represents 2150 short-haul Customer Service Mangers and Flight Attendants will be put to employees for a vote in the coming weeks.

The cabin crew agreement also included a three per cent pay increase each year for three years and ensures Qantas continues to offer the best pay and conditions for cabin crew in Australia.

Qantas Group Executive Government and Corporate Affairs Olivia Wirth said Qantas was a good employer and offered pay and conditions well above industry standards.

“This year we have reached agreements with around 10,000 employees or around a third of our workforce. When unions are willing to negotiate in good-faith, and without unrealistic demands, we are able to reach agreements which are good for employees and good for Qantas.” Ms Wirth said.

“This is a stark contrast to the position taken by the leaders of the engineers’ union, the pilots’ union and the Transport Workers’ Union (TWU). These unions are working together in a coordinated industrial campaign with their demands attempting to give control of Qantas to the unions.

The Transport Workers Union’s is tomorrow taking strike action in two, two hour blocks in the morning and afternoon peaks at Airports and catering facilities around Australia. The first strike starts at 5am and the last strike concludes at 8pm.

In Canberra, the strikes will occur in a four hour block from 4pm-8pm which is the conclusion of a Parliamentary sitting week and the peak time at the airport.

More than 6,600 passengers will be impacted with 14 flights cancelled and a further 35 flights delayed by up to an hour. Qantas will deploy Australian-based management to undertake operational roles and deploy larger aircraft.

“Tomorrow’s strikes by the TWU and Friday’s strike by the Australian Licenced Aircraft Engineers Association (ALAEA) are a clear sign that the unions are stepping up their coordinated attacks on Qantas and our passengers,” Ms Wirth said.

“We remain committed to achieving fair and sustainable agreements with all of employees as shown by our new agreements this year with the Australian Services Union (ASU), the Flight Attendants Association of Australia (FAAA) and the NUW.

“We call on the union leaders to drop their unrealistic demands and ask them to come back to the negotiating table.”

Qantas attended conciliation talks with the Australian and International Pilots Association of Australia (AIPA) before Fair Work Australia on Monday and Tuesday this week. There are further talks planned with the TWU today and two days of meetings planned next week. The ALAEA refused to attend conciliation talks before Fair Work Australia last Thursday.

Ms Wirth said despite negotiations being underway on a new enterprise bargaining agreement for months, Qantas had been unable to reach an agreement with the Transport Workers Union.

“The TWU’s claim for 15 per cent pay increase over the next three years is just not sustainable in the current economic environment – and given Qantas workers are already the best-paid in the industry,” Ms Wirth said.

“The TWU is also trying to place restrictions on Qantas which would remove our flexibility to scale up or scale down our workforce in line with busy and quiet periods.

“The TWU has negotiated a new deal with Virgin which is 12 per cent lower than Qantas rates and includes a wage freeze and a lower pay scale for new starters. This gives Virgin a competitive advantage over Qantas.”

The Australian Licenced Aircraft Engineers Association (ALAEA) will go on strike between 4pm-8pm on Friday 14 October in Sydney. Qantas is assessing what impact this will have on services.

Issued by Qantas Corporate Communication (5204)