Qantas raises stakes in battle for long-haul flight attendant contracts

Sydney-Qantas aims to end contract terms with long-distance flight attendants, and airlines are moving to bring significant wage cuts on Thursday after union members vote against a more flexible roster. Stated.

Qantas said it was the first time in history that it had attempted to terminate an employment terms agreement, or a contract between an employer and a trade union, which is a rare and enthusiastic move in Australian labor relations.

This move is for the airline to fight the union to attract attention when it is necessary to conclude an agreement with a short-haul crew to seal the business case of Airbus SE’s major narrow-body aircraft orders. To set.

If successful, flight attendant wages and conditions will return to much lower Australian minimum industry standards while the new agreement is being negotiated.

Qantas’ latest contract proposal for long-haul flight attendants was rejected by 97% in a December vote.

The Australian Flight Attendants Association (FAAA) said the deal aims to ease conditions, impose a two-year wage freeze, and then impose a 2% salary increase when inflation rises.

The airline said the union’s opposition was “infeasible” because it would cost A $ 60 million ($ 43.3 million) over four years.

“We are seeking dismissal because we cannot operate our business effectively without the desperately necessary roster changes to properly reopen the international network in the post-COVID world,” said International Chief Executive Officer. Andrew David said in a statement.

Under the existing agreement, flight attendants on the A330 fleet will not be available on the 787 and A380 fleets, making it more difficult for Qantas to change aircraft types.

FAAA said the crew was willing to work on all aircraft, not the conditions proposed by the company.

The airline is performing only 20 percent of its pre-COVID-19 international capacity this quarter, as Omicron variants are driving tighter border restraints in some countries.

Qantas said the Australian Fair Labor Commission is expected to handle the application in the coming weeks and the airline is demanding a prompt hearing. It said it was open to returning the same deal that the union rejected to the table.

($ 1 = 1.3858 AUD)

Jamie Fried