The Flight Attendants Association of Australia has said two groups of Qantas cabin crew have filed applications to the Fair Work Commission to take industrial action including strikes and work bans.
National secretary Teri O’Toole told The Australian her members were being offered “dramatically cut conditions” that would “significantly cut their fatigue management”.
She also suggested the airline had threatened to outsource work, but Qantas said in response it was “not our plan” to do so.
The shift extensions planned would mean cabin crew would work for 12 hours instead of 9.45, and up to 14 during disruption. Rest periods would also go down to 10 hours during periods of disruption when no other crew were available.
Potential industrial action, if granted, could include reading safety briefs during paid shifts and strikes.
“Workers are already exhausted trying to keep up with demand on a skeleton workforce following cuts to crew numbers per flight (from five to four) and an overenthusiastic redundancy scheme to cull workers and cut costs,” said O’Toole.
Qantas told the newspaper in response that it has “rigorous fatigue management processes” in place, and the changes to shift length mirror those at other domestic airlines.
“The deal we’re proposing offers pay increases, the opportunity to secure thousands of dollars in incentives and an expansion of overtime payments,” the business said.
It follows Dnata catering staff and Menzies ground handlers calling off a vote on industrial action after securing pay rises and job security protections in September. Dnata ground handlers also called off a planned 24-hour strike after securing an immediate 12.6 per cent pay rise.
The Flying Kangaroo outsourced 2,000 in-house ground handling roles to third-party companies, including Dnata, Menzies, and Swissport last year.
While the Federal Court twice ruled that decision breached the Fair Work Act, it eventually decided those employees won’t be able to get their old jobs back and instead must accept compensation.
In 2022, Qantas has faced a string of problems, including huge delays at Easter, hours-long call wait times, and even a revelation that the cabin crew of a Qantas A330 were made to sleep across seats in economy.