QANTAS: Airline group could face industrial disruptions
‘The Spirit of Australia’ airline group, that’s Qantas, Jetstar, the fly-in/fly-out service Network Aviation are facing industrial action from aircraft engineers and possibly third-party baggage handlers over the next few weeks and months if wage disputes are not resolved.
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Over 700 licensed aircraft engineers, represented by the Australian Licensed Aircraft Engineers Association (ALEA) have passed a motion to take industrial action from Monday which could see anything from 1 minute through to 12 hour work stoppages, as well as a refusal to work overtime.
The engineers have requested a 12% (Qantas) to 15% (Jetstar) pay increase. Qantas engineers want it as a one-off increase, while Jetstar are happy to take their increase over 4 years. Perth based charter outfit Network Aviation are requesting a whopping 20% over 4 years.
Negotiations started pre-pandemic, but have been suspended, recommencing around May of this year (2022)
Although union representatives promise only 1 minute micro strikes so as not to disrupt passengers, you can see that escalating to the full 12 hours if they don’t get appropriate cooperation from Qantas.
Remember how Qantas sacked around 1,700 staff including baggage handlers to save AU$10 million? Well, those replacement outsourced baggage handlers at Emirates owned Dnata are also after a pay rise. The Fair Work Commission has approved a vote by their employees on industrial action too. With a vote tipped for September, Dnata workers want a new enterprise bargaining agreement to allow both more part-time work and more permanent staff.
With near full employment and the change in bargaining strength moving from employer to employee, expect flight disruptions on Qantas and Jetstar! I don’t see a quick change to the standard Qantas Group hardline stance on industrial negotiations softening any time soon. Expect some ‘he said / she said’ interplay between Qantas managers and Steve Purvatis of the ALEA over the next month or so.
Air travel seems doomed to be full of risk at the moment. If you don’t suffer a flight or baggage delay, flight cancellation of baggage loss, then your not a serious traveller these days.