Qantas Airlines Rejects Claims From Pilots' Union


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Qantas Airlines Rejects Claims From Pilots' Union

By Daniel Baxter

February 15, 2011 - In a statement released by Qantas Airlines they reported that claims being made by the Australian and International Pilots Association (AIPA) about Qantas pilots' job security being under threat are completely unfounded. 

Tragedy looms for Qantas as hard line management trashes its brand, seeks to smash its pilots. Qantas is on the brink this morning as a questionable management team shows its contempt for its workforce by refusing to negotiate job security in return for improved flexibility and productivity.

President of the Australian and International Pilots Association Barry Jackson said the situation was a tragedy, with management seemingly eager to destroy its relationship with loyal workers.

?We are witnessing the demise of an icon through mismanagement. This is not the first time some of the Qantas managers have been through this. Many were centrally involved in the destruction of Ansett and Australian Airlines and back then, as they are today, the same industrial consultants are advising them. If Qantas disappears they will have wiped out all of the founding entities in Australian aviation. 

?This dispute is about jobs and whether there will be a recognizable aviation industry based in Australia in the future.? Mr. Jackson said that the degradation of Qantas mainline has not stopped at the first subsidiary. Jetstar is now being undercut and off-shored at every opportunity, with the imminent formation of more off-shore bases proudly announced by Mr. Joyce at recent Company roadshows. 

?The sham Jetconnect operations have seriously reduced members' career opportunities and there are no guarantees from management that will restrict the rapid expansion of the off-shoring of mainline operations. In fact, management has confirmed that ?all options will be considered?. After the years of neglect and asset stripping of mainline our members have endured, we not only have to give up our entitlements, but also our jobs to boot.

"Mr. Jackson said that Qantas was advised of AIPA's move away from remuneration-based outcomes and its desire to consider contract flexibility in order to achieve job security. ?The response has been to mislead the public about the quantum of our claim.  There have been no formal discussions to address the claims, management have simply dismissed them with contempt.


?We have been informed that regardless of any efficiencies we are willing to provide, no formal job security provision will ever be given. In other words, ?no matter how low you go, we will always look for someone cheaper?. Qantas pilots are the custodians of public safety and the true inheritors of the airline?s iconic status. Job security provisions are common in many industrial agreements and should not be an excuse for inciting a catastrophe.?

Qantas has stated that the threat of industrial action from AIPA comes during ongoing negotiations with Qantas management, including CEO Alan Joyce, for a new enterprise bargaining agreement (EBA) for international pilots. ?The threat of industrial action is part of the union's posturing to get increased wages and conditions for international pilots as part of the EBA negotiations and to limit the ability of Qantas Group to compete with other airlines. Qantas values the contribution that our pilots make and management are committed to the EBA negotiations and have entered them in good faith. 

?Qantas has not made a pilot redundant in almost 40 years and there is no threat to the job security of our pilots. Qantas management would be very disappointed if industrial action being threatened by AIPA went ahead as it would have an impact on the business and cause disruptions for our passengers. In a meeting with Qantas management yesterday the union made no mention of their threat of industrial action. It is important to note that the overall wage claim from AIPA is not 2.5 per cent as the union has suggested. 

?The combined effect of the wage claim, classification table and travel claims submitted by AIPA is a cost increase of approximately 26 per cent over three years, equivalent to an 8.15 per cent increase year on year. Qantas rejects demands from the union that only Qantas pilots should fly planes in other Qantas Group airlines (Jetstar, Jetconnect). Jetstar is a separate company which is competing with other low-fare airlines - not with the premium service offered by Qantas. The claims made by AIPA would, if conceded, put the real job security of many thousands of Qantas Group employees at risk.?


The Australian and International Pilots Association (AIPA) is a trade union and professional association formed in 1981 to represent Qantas and its related companies pilots and flight engineers. The AIPA broke away from the Australian Federation of Air Pilots (AFAP) in the early 1980s. It was formally registered in 1986. 

In May 2007 the Australian Industrial Relations Commission ruled that the AIPA could cover pilots employed by Jetstar. This means that coverage of Jetstar pilots is shared between the AFAP and the AIPA. The AIPA does not view itself as a trade union, but as a "professional Association and federally registered organization".  In late 2006 it decided to rejoin the ACTU

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