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Qantas industrial issues – “significant differences” still to be overcome

written by australianaviation.com.au | October 5, 2011

During a briefing to media on October 5, Qantas CEO Alan Joyce said there were still significant differences to be overcome with baggage handler, engineer and pilot unions.

While conceding all parties were close on pay and conditions negotiations, he said the long term viability of the airline was at stake and he would not move on certain issues.

“There’s still some significant differences with the unions,” he said. “If it comes down to pay and conditions, we’re always going to get close on those. The biggest issue that we have is this veto on change – the unions’ requirements to manage the business. They would like to have control and to manage this organisation and to veto any change the company has to make.

“To me, we are talking about the survival of Qantas International in the longer term, and those demands are something that are vital to the survival of the company,” Joyce added. “I will never give in to those demands, and I’ve been very clear on it, and very clear that these items cannot be conceded because the company (will be) in all sorts of trouble.”

Joyce added that he hoped the October 5 revelations of threats being made to himself and other Qantas staff and management would not affect negotiations going forward. “We’ve had nearly 100 meetings now with the unions, that’s the way to handle the issues. They can take their industrial action, we can make our contingency plans in place, that’s the way it works. I hope (it doesn’t push a resolution further away). I hope the union leaders have a better tactic and that they’re not using this as an acceptable tactic.”

Qantas baggage handlers will hold a two hour stop work meeting on Friday October 7, while engineers are scheduled to walk off the job for four hours on Monday October 10.

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