Federal Emplyment Minister Julia Gillard has ordered the Australian Industrial Relations Commission to restart the award modernisation project for airline staff following concerns expressed to the Minister by key unions.
According to Fairfax press, the Minister wrote to the Commission expressing concerns that some parts of the new award were not family friendly, particularly for the working hours and conditions of flight attendants. Under the proposed new award, pregnant cabin crew lost the right to shift to other duties, while there was also uncertainty about when a cabin crew member may be able to return to their home base.
The Australian Services Union has also expressed concerns that the modernised award would see base wages for ground crew fall by $300 per week as a result of bringing the minimum salary down to meet regional airline levels.
Qantas has expressed disappointment at the actions of Minister Gillard, while Virgin Blue said that it remained confident in the award modernisation process.