Qantas has expressed its disappointment today after negotiations with the Australian Licenced Aircraft Engineers Association (ALAEA) broke down, following the union’s announcement to strike this Friday (May 13).
The ALAEA had been in conciliation talks with Qantas at Fair Work Australia today, when the union made the decision, ordering its members to stop work between 8am and 9am at all Australian ports this Friday.
“The union clearly seems more intent on taking industrial action rather than genuinely negotiating for a new enterprise bargaining agreement for its members,” Qantas group executive – operations, Lyell Strambi said. “Qantas has negotiated in good faith since September last year and exhausted all avenues possible however we have been unable to make any real progress with the union on an agreement.”
“Our priority is to ensure that the Australian travelling public is not disrupted and we are putting contingencies in place to minimise the impact of this action,” Strambi said, noting that Qantas passengers could expect only minor delays on Friday morning.
Meanwhile, the ALAEA continues to hold firm, with national security Steve Purvinas telling The Age that the “wage claim is modest”. “What interests us more is job security, and for aircraft engineers that means simply being able to carry out aircraft maintenance in Australia,” Purvinas said.
The ALAEA has been pursuing a three per cent annual pay rise over three years, new classification levels, that Qantas A380 and Boeing 787 heavy maintenance be performed in Australia, and guarantees that subcontractors be paid no less than Qantas engineers.
However, Strambi accused ALAEA of misrepresenting its claims for increased wages and conditions. “The cost of the union’s claim is 28.6 per cent over three years, with further increased costs being incurred in subsequent years bringing the real cost to above 36 per cent,” he argued.
“We are willing to negotiate on reasonable pay and conditions but we will not give in to their demands which remove flexibility the airline needs to respond to changing operating conditions.
“We remain available for direct talks with the union at anytime,” Strambi concluded.