The decision by Qantas management to cut airline services, slash jobs and reduce real wages for staff is short-sighted and will lead to lower standards and quality at the airline in the long term say unions.
Qantas aircraft engineers are today taking part in a four hour stop work meeting to discuss concerns over declining pay and service standards at the airline.
The engineers’ union (ALAEA) called the stop work following the cancellation by Qantas management of pay negotiations scheduled to take place this week and the airline management’s ongoing refusal to offer the workers a pay rise that is above inflation.
Unions believe it is unfair and contradictory for Qantas management to plan job cuts and to insist employees shoulder real pay cuts while the company is headed for another record profit — on Monday this week the company reiterated its forecast for a 40% increase in profit this year.
And despite rising fuel costs, independent financial analysts are predicting Qantas will enjoy strong revenue growth of around 7% a year for the next three years (see graph below).
ACTU President Ms Sharan Burrow said:
“It is very disappointing that Qantas has refused to meet with unions and cancelled the meeting set down for pay negotiations this week.
“There is a simple principle at stake here — the engineers and other staff that are essential to keeping planes in the air and providing a high quality service should not have to suffer a real wage cut while Qantas executives get big bonuses and the company is headed for a record profit.
“Qantas management also need to be reminded that cuts to services, jobs and wages will not attract more customers and will put at risk standards at the airline.”
Steve Purvinas, federal secretary of the aircraft engineers union (ALAEA) said:
“The last thing our members want to do is inconvenience the travelling public and we regret any such impact. But in the long-term the only way of maintaining services and standards within the airline is for members to stand up for their basic rights.
“The stoppage is the direct result of Qantas managers demanding their workforce accept a pay cut in real terms while executives take massive bonuses.
“Our (ALAEA) members offered to minimise the impact of this week’s action by putting in place skeleton crews, but Qantas managers ignored this offer.”
Qantas stop work meetings will take place between 8am – 12 noon on Thursday 29 May at the Sydney airport; 6pm – 10pm on Thursday at the Brisbane airport, and between 8am and 12 noon on Friday 30 May at the Melbourne Tullamarine airport.