Unions believe it is unethical and unfair for Qantas executives to be denying aircraft maintenance engineers a pay rise that meets their cost of living expenses while at the same time the company is forecast to make a record $1.5 billion profit.
The aircraft engineers union (ALAEA) today commenced overtime bans and are planning a four-hour stop-work meeting on Friday to inform members of the lack of progress in negotiations with Qantas.
Qantas management has taken a tough line in pay negotiations, offering the maintenance engineers a 3% rise in take home pay – below the level of inflation – and has been exposed engaging a squad of strike-breakers in preparation for a drawn out industrial dispute.
The company is taking a hard line against the around 1500 engineers, who are crucial to the safety of its aircraft, despite expecting a massive 40 per cent increase in profits this year.
ACTU President Sharan Burrow said:
“It is unethical for Qantas to be putting profits ahead of the living standards of its workers.
“The company is reaping record profits and delivering big bonuses to its senior management.
“Qantas clearly has the capacity to give its engineers a pay rise that is above inflation.
“It is also appalling that Qantas is prepared to bring in strike-breakers and lock-out engineers rather than negotiate.
“Not only are Qantas workers being dudded, but so are Qantas passengers who have been slugged with two fare increases so far this year so that the company’s massive profits can remain on track.
“Qantas’s hardline stance on its workers is also out of step with community opinion. The Australian public voted overwhelmingly at the last election to bring balance back into industrial relations.
“People can see it is unfair for big businesses like Qantas to make record profits while riding roughshod over the wages, conditions and rights of workers,” said Ms Burrow.