Qantas yesterday welcomed the decision by Fair Work Australia in the arbitration case with the Transport Workers’ Union which mandates that Qantas is entitled to run its business free from union control.
The TWU had last year attempted to use the bargaining process for a new enterprise agreement to dictate how certain parts of Qantas should be run including how Qantas utilises employees of a Qantas subsidiary and preventing Qantas from accessing the sensible use of contractors.
Qantas Group Executive Government and Corporate Affairs Olivia Wirth said the outcome provides certainty for 3,800 baggage handlers, airport ground staff, catering, freight and other transport employees.
“Qantas welcomes the decision by Fair Work Australia,” Ms Wirth said.
“It’s clear that the Transport Workers’ Union’s demands were out of step with what is fair and reasonable for a union to demand of an employer,” Ms Wirth said.
“Qantas is pleased that our employees have a new agreement in place, and will receive pay rises. This means Qantas baggage handlers and ground staff continue to be some of the highest paid in the Australian aviation industry.
“Importantly, Qantas is free to run our business as we see fit and not be dictated to by union officials who do not have the airline’s best interests at heart.”
The decision by Fair Work Australia also prevents the TWU from taking industrial action for at least the next two years.
Industrial action by three unions last year including the TWU cost Qantas $68 million, disrupted 70,000 passengers and saw 600 flights cancelled.
Today’s decision is the first time since enterprise bargaining began almost 20 years ago that Qantas has been forced into arbitration to resolve a pay dispute. In that time we have negotiated hundreds of new agreements with our workforce.
Image: Flickr [bribri]