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Cabin crew says Qantas ‘should be ashamed’ of agreement termination

written by Hannah Dowling | January 21, 2022

Quantas VH-OQA
File image of Qantas Airbus A380 VH-OQA. (David Soda)

The Flight Attendant’s Association of Australia has called out Qantas’ decision to terminate its enterprise agreement with its international cabin crew without entertaining other means of negotiation or mediation and said management “should be ashamed”.

Qantas announced on Thursday that it would move to terminate its enterprise agreement with its international cabin crew as a “last resort”, in order to give the airline better flexibility in its rostering processes.

“After describing their cabin crew as heroes for flying during the pandemic and repatriating stranded Australians … Qantas has asked the Fair Work Commission to terminate their enterprise agreement, to allow the company to slash the entirety of their pay and conditions,” the association said in a statement.

“They have done this without even contemplating asking for the assistance of the Fair Work Commission to try and reach agreement, as Virgin did when their cabin crew similarly rejected an EBA,” the union said.

This all comes after an overwhelming 97.5 per cent of employees, represented by the FAAA, voted “no” against Qantas’ recent proposed pay deal.


Qantas claimed the proposed deal was fair and accused the FAAA of running “a scare campaign”, while the union said taking the deal would have resulted in poorer pay and worse rostering conditions for staff.

The union stated that the Australian cabin crew are among the “hardest hit workgroups in Australia” throughout the pandemic, after navigating 18 months of stand-downs, isolation and quarantine rules, and exposing themselves to COVID in order to repatriate Australians stranded overseas.

“The reward for crew’s sacrifice was a proposal which sought to cut conditions and impose a two-year pay freeze followed by meagre 2 per cent pay rises,” the FAAA said.

“This is likely to be a real-world pay cut, not even keeping up with inflation.”

Qantas has said that its decision to throw out the enterprise agreement was made due to the fact that around 20 per cent of its cabin crew workforce are only permitted to work on one type of aircraft under the current enterprise agreement, which the airline deems “unworkable”.

“This is simply not the case. The FAAA is willing to allow all crew to work on all aircraft, just not on the terms put forward by the company,” the union said in response.

“The FAAA has been willing to explore, and has facilitated, extensive flexibility to the company throughout the pandemic and beyond, where ‘business as usual’ flying has been largely non-existent.”

The union has said that it remains willing to negotiate with Qantas “in good faith” and hopes to see another deal that addresses the “work-life balance concerns” of employees.

FAAA federal secretary Teri O’Toole said in the nearly 35 years that she had worked for Qantas, she had “never seen anything like this”.

“Crew bent ourselves into pretzels to assist the company during the pandemic and this is the thanks their flight attendants get.

“This is a very disappointing decision, and one management should be ashamed of,” she said.

O’Toole said Qantas put its new enterprise agreement to a vote just one week after the majority of international cabin crew returned to work after being stood down for 18 months without pay.

As a result, “Ninety-seven per cent of their crew rejected the offer that would have serious consequences for their families and work-life balance with significant increases in standbys and associated instability,” she said.

“Qantas has received more taxpayer money than anyone else and now they want their employees to massively reduce pay and conditions.

“That’s not the Australia that the public should tolerate. The government needs to step in and ensure that the laws are not used to attack workers in the way that this airline is doing.”

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Comments (9)

  • D


    This group of people is one of the best paid “attendants” in the world. Wake up and realise that the world has changed….. if you want to keep your jobs. Everyone else is going through it, contrary to popular belief you are not better or more entitled than any other employee…. the glory days are over. Get used to it otherwise, someone will gladly take your place, you’re just a number like the rest of us. And the union doesn’t help by blowing sunshine around and making these attendants think they are God’s gift……… reality will soon hit.

    • Dan Hinter


      Spoken like an obviously privileged schmuck who has no idea, possibly a wannabe who failed the entrance exam into the airlines. Flight attendants are not there to to feed you, they are there when push comes to shove in an emergency situation. They deserve every cent they get and some. I am an engineer and I have the utmost respect for our flighties and you should do. Give yourself an uppercut and have a good look in the mirror.

      • Vannus


        So true, Dan…

        In this day & age, people have conveniently forgotten the REAL reason Cabin Crew are on board an aircraft.

        They’re highly trained folk, who will assist in an emergency.
        Over the decades’, 100’s of passengers’ have been saved by them.

        In all my years’ of flying, I’ve found them courteous, & professional.

  • Robert


    As a Platinum Frequent Flyer I delight in boarding my Qantas flight from all corners of the globe and being met by an Aussie person, it immediately takes me home. That’s one reason I choose QF. CEO Alan Joyce has navigated some difficult times however he has also negotiated some significant support from the Government. With this latest move I am wondering whether his time is done. At every challenge he whips his staff. He uses his powerful media machine to punish alternative views. All airlines have done it tough not just Qantas. But it was his management that for the first time ever lost Qantas it’s treasured number 1 global airline safety rating, that is just wrong! In my view leave your staff alone and do your job as a CEO and leader and build the Company. Don’t waste your time belittling others for your short comings. Maybe the QF Board should stand up and refresh their Corporate leaders. Otherwise there will be no reason for your customers to stay loyal when they fly in the future. I fly Qantas because of your staff. I don’t fly Qantas because of their CEO

  • Rod Pickin


    The QF timing is probably questionable but both parties have to accept that these days without flexibility, in particular, attitude, we aint going anywhere. I seem to remember a combined type of B747-200, with and without lower lobe-B747-300, B767-200, B767-300 plus 336 and B747-SP and all worked well then so what is the problem? Yes I know there was a hiccup then with the SP. and I believe there was a separate later arrangement for the B747-400 but do we really want to be left behind the likes of EK.SQ. Neither parties need this, let’s move ahead.

  • Bill O'Really.


    Look, this is only fair. Wonderful, caring, people person Joyce needs a few more dollars to ease his pain during the pandemic. And, being the most important person in Qantas, he must seek out a solution to his financial woes, and who better to sacrifice than the underlings of little to no consequence. Don’t these people know their place in the world? This is business, and dear Alan loves the thrust and parry of business and plays it smartly, like a chess game. Bend over and take it Qantas crew, Alan needs recognition of his greatness and you must become supplicant sponges to this genius.

  • Marum


    I guess all “You beaut deals” come to an end. As Ansett staff found out. The gravy train does not last forever….Marum.

  • GeorgeB


    If they are worried about “work-life balance” they have chosen the wrong career, should retire and find another job. Having a family and a job that sends you far away is not an ideal combination. Most of the population has a hopeless work-life balance in worse conditions than flight attendants. Sure, Joyce and other company big wigs, sports stars that hit little green balls over a net or financial speculators etc etc have obscene pay packets, but that’s life unfortunately and we are the bottom rung. Qantas is no longer a government-owned enterprise and has to operate the same as other airlines, many having gone to the wall already.

  • Marum


    @Bill….It is really only mind over matter.

    Dear old Allan doesn’t mind. The staff don’t matter.


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