Long term Qantas valet parking workers are out of a job this morning (Saturday 1 March) after a new contractor has attempted to force their workforce onto AWA individual agreements that take away wages and conditions.
The workers were given a deadline of yesterday to either accept cuts to their conditions or lose their jobs.
About 170 workers have been affected nationally including 70 at Melbourne Airport as Equity Valet Parking took over the Qantas Valet Parking contract today. The change of contract and AWA are currently being investigated.
A rally will be held this morning (Saturday 1 March) in support of these workers and will be attended by ACTU President Sharan Burrow and ASU Vic branch Secretary Ingrid Stitt.
ACTU President Sharan Burrow said:
“Qantas has a responsibility to these workers and its customers. Qantas also has the power to ensure that the workers are employed under a decent agreement.
“We are extremely concerned that these workers are suddenly out of a job and workers who signed the AWA are working for less than they were a day ago.
“This is just another case of ‘sign the AWA or lose your job’ that we have seen so much of since the former Howard-Liberal Government introduced their unfair WorkChoices laws.
“Qantas should stop hiding behind this new contracting arrangement that has seen long serving airport valet parking workers either losing their jobs or wages and conditions.
ASU Victorian branch secretary Ingrid Stitt said staff had effectively been thrown on the WorkChoices scrap heap.
“These workers were given one option – sign the five-year agreement or look for another job. Two thirds of the customer service staff had indicated they would not be signing the AWA.
“These workers have made a decision not to sign because they’re not confident that their conditions are protected in the AWA and they certainly aren’t happy that the company wouldn’t negotiate a collective agreement.
“The workers can’t understand why the employer would not agree to maintain their employment conditions through a collective agreement.
“We will continue to support and represent those members who have had no choice but to sign the AWA as we understand people have responsibilities and bills to pay”, said Ms Stitt.