Qantas strikes industrial accord with flight attendants

written by australianaviation.com.au | February 15, 2013
Inflight service will be key to Qantas's international positioning. (Qantas)

The Flight Attendants Association of Australia (FAAA) has achieved agreements with Qantas on longhaul flight attendant conditions for the next three and a half years.

Flight attendants, who will vote on the agreement during March, will retain their current entitlements and receive a three per cent annual increase totalling 12 per cent over the life of the agreement. A previously-agreed cap on offshore-based crew will be retained.

The FAAA’s international division secretary, Michael Mijatov said: “This is an outstanding result in terms of the conditions facing Qantas internationally, especially compared to the miserable outcome for unions like the TWU for their Qantas members.”

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Mijatov, in an interview with Australian Aviation late last year, said the FAAA would rather adopt a co-operative rather than combative approach to negotiations with Qantas.

“We have a philosophy of engaging actively in negotiations,” he said, adding “It can make a difficult situation somewhat more palatable. We are proud of that the industrial relations strategy we have adopted has delivered results for our members despite the difficulties of the environment we are operating in.”

This is no small win – for flight attendants or Qantas management.

At a time the company is seeking to revitalise its reputation and brand in international markets, the accord between Qantas and the FAAA will do a lot to imbue these vital customer-facing staff with encouragement. It will have a positive effect on customer service and management needs to ensure this is harnessed to good effect.  This will be all the more important as Qantas flies alongside Emirates from March 31, a carrier that has a strong reputation for consistency, reliability and a proud customer service culture.

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If Qantas can reach industrial harmony with this key group of employees – and sustain that harmony – Qantas is on the way to achieving the stability it sorely needs in order to reassert itself internationally.

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15 Comments

  • Saz

    says:

    Good on that union – the airline is happy, the union and its members are happy. Some of the other unions who represent Qantas staff could learn a lot from unions like this, who want to co-operate and don’t want to threaten strike action as soon as they don’t get thier way.

  • Ky

    says:

    Too bad the TWU will do its usual whinging and whining and strike if they don’t get some kind of insane deal next year

  • tony cameron

    says:

    look like the flights attendants have moved on from the rest of the trouble and getting on with helping to get qantas back on the right track and back to the great australian company it is well done to you guys

  • Jason lee

    says:

    Too bad they don’t respect their crew,qantas thinks the crew are a necessary evil,sending inboard managers back to training school for not writing enough bad reports on crew does not make a cohesive workforce.
    The outcome for the EBA is good for both parties but qantas needs to work with staff not against them

  • John

    says:

    I think the real message here is that the FAAA is one of the weaker unions at Qantas, and as such are happy that those senior members who retain the “old” conditions can remain employed to the very end. Unfortunately, they also realise that the “glory” days are over for the high paid, glamorous jet style lifestyle of a bygone era. Also, as the members haven’t voted yet,I think the real feeling will be seen in the vote result. Good luck to the Flight Attendant fraternity.

  • flyerboi

    says:

    Unfortunately the FAAA have created a divisional workforce in which one group of flight attendants are on almost double the pay and better conditions than the crew they sit next to on a flight. One of the FAAA promises in these negotiations was to bridge the gap between the low paid workers and the higher ones. They failed miserably in this. It is interesting to note that I was on a much higher salary flying for Jetstar ( a budget carrier) in 2006 than I am in 2013 (working for the premium, national carrier). As the FAAA is governed by these flight attendants on the higher pay structure, it is little wonder they have again protected their own interests to the detriment of the lower paid employees. And JOhn is right, the FAAA is a weak union. You would expect nothing less when the FAAA leadership are also on board managers for the company… conflict of interest, much??!! Watch their membership rates amongst the lower paid flight attendants drop substantially.

  • Ky

    says:

    Jason lee,

    I’ve heard from friends at Jetstar that their cabin are also being told in their annual review that they are “too friendly” to their colleagues and get written up for not marking crew down.

    In my belief if the supervisors on board are well liked and friendly then the crew are more likely to perform well.

  • Sean Lawless

    says:

    The FAAA didn’t create a divided workforce. Qantas based crew in overseas destinations and stopped recruiting crew in Australia. The second tier was a response to that and started employment of crew again at Qantas.

    The FAAA just responded pragmatically to an evolving situation of complex industrial relations laws, and pressures to reduce costs by an Airline desperate to remain competitive.

    The Older crew were ring fenced and no more crew will enjoy those conditions from halcyon days. The new crew have conditions that reflect the market and allow Qantas to grow.

    When crew apply to Qantas or Virgin they know the Salary and conditions. Its no use complaining later about what you used to earn in previous jobs/airlines. if it was so good why did you leave flyerboi?

  • Adam

    says:

    The issue that Jason raises really hit’s the mark. Being seen as an effective Manager is when you mark people down and dob. It’s actively encouraged and expected. If you are an upbeat Manager who motivates crew, is easy going and keeps the team happy then that is the Manager I would want. Happy crew = happy customers.

    The demoralizing effect of Summer School has sent people into depression, medication, to stained professional reputations and I’m speaking of high performing, incredibly engaged and passionate Managers that have given so much over many years.

    The two heads of Customer Experience are not nice people. These women are driven, work hard yet have their own clicks and if they don’t like you then you are finished. They churn and burn and people go from hero to zero overnight. Their day will come and many hope it’s soon. They are both passed their use by date.

    As for the FAAA – it was widely expected that Long Range allowances would go, QCCA would go to 260 hours. The QCCA FA category did receive a small pay rise and the reality is that the two (QAL/QCCA) groups were created. It is what it is and good luck to them.

    I’m not QAL and I know where the door is if I don’t like it. Perplexing how many QCCA employees of the younger generations all have iPhones, iPads and even some property and reasonable cars not to mention credit card debt. Happy to blow allowances on overnights and have benders and then cry poor.

    With overtime and allowances and base pay the gross pay is under/over 70 odd thousand dollars. Not bad for someone in their late teens. Keep in mind also that the 4 day LAX and DBX trips are high hours therefore with 6 weeks holidays and days off it adds up to approximately 150 days of down time not to mention the time on overnights nor the early morning arrivals which are for rest yet it’s still almost a day off.

    Things were expected to be a lot worse. They didn’t turn out that way. The FAAA approached this negotiation in a conciliatory fashion and ended up with and ideal outcome.

  • Andrew QFlyer

    says:

    I think it is wonderful that existing conditions have been maintained for the crew which benefit from that. I have seen first hand the 2 faced management style that is prevalent in HO at the moment. One thing in writing and another behind closed doors. Record every conversation and take a witness.. do not trust the smiling assassin that will greet you in the office. A company that openly admits in the AFR that it is looking to reduce its legacy costs.. IE: anyone who works for QAL. then goes about intimidating those staff to move on should be taken to court.. but why would the government or FWA agree to this or help.. OUR politicians are given complimentary entry to Chairmans and Premium lounges.. if the lobbying by QF to these folks were not so strong we may have a chance at fairness.. its not about keep the airline going..its about keeping the corporate salaries as high as possible.. If you can bribe the government …You win ! So staff need to be smarter, play the game, say what they want and be there when they have moved on.. that is the best revenge you can have.. to exist when they do not.. Great Staff, Great Company, Really really silly management… lets hope it survives..

  • Chelle

    says:

    to all of the union haters, especially those bagging out TWU, please explain where exactly you think you would be without unionised assitance.
    i know that you THINK that you get paid and receive the benifits that you do because your just a great employee, but that is far from the truth.
    Considering it is the union out there fighting for YOUR rights, its pretty low that you find the need to have a slagging match against them.
    It is people like you who jump on the band wagon and take all the benifits that unions fight for, but refuse to join the union that create the downfall in solidarity.
    Grow up.

  • Sam

    says:

    Chelle,

    Have a look in the mirror. You either work for a union or are a representative. You need to grow up and stop demanding things that are just out of this world.

    Get real

  • Peter

    says:

    Well said Chelle, totally agree.

  • Mark.

    says:

    can someone please tell me how the FAAA is their for its members when they dont fight to make all wages the same???? All crew do the same job so why do they continue to allow the company to get away with it. Why should jetstar to qantaslink to domestic to international crew be paid different. Yes crew operate different aircraft types but in the end they are all trained in emergency procedures, inflight service and the rest. The union just continues to allow the difference to grow and grow. They dont try to bring everyone in line with each other. They create indifference within the brands and in some cases people get screwed over. Its like oh you can do the same job as everyone else but you dont get staff travel sorry. You are just an agency and causal or part time. Wake up FAAA we pay you to make it fair for us all!!!! Stop telling me its in my best interest or this is a great deal when you go and give another part of the group something I dont get or entitled to. Come next elections I hope you are all out. Start working with the crews not for yourself. We don’t pay you fees to get what you want.

  • Freddie

    says:

    The FAAA is a weak collection of people looking after their own interests and not those of their dwindling member base who pay their wages. If they were looking after the interests of all of their QF employees they would bargain in good faith for ALL of their Cabin Crew. Virgin Cabin Crew are up next for EBA negotiations and that will be an interesting one. They were sold down the line last time by the FAAA (so I’m told). A new organisation has been started within their ranks – called iCCC and so far, what it has been achieving is leaving the FAAA for dead. This will be a very interesting dust up. The iCCC is intent on bargaining for all of their supporting Cabin Crew regardless of aircraft type, years of service and many more issues…………Watch this space – so I’ve been told.

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