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Qantas flight attendants mull strikes over shift changes

written by Adam Thorn | October 12, 2022

Craig Murray shot this Qantas 737-800, VH-VYE

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.

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Comments (6)

  • Adam Ramos


    Qantas have taken one crew member off each A330 and each B737, this has saved them millions in wages but have left the crew working twice as hard to achieve the inflight service onboard now. These domestic cabin crew are still owed a ‘record financial results’ bonus from qantas in 2018, that’s four years on and still not paid it yet the exec team have walked off with their bonus.

  • Jim


    Qantas, still trying to screw the people that are responsible for the good reputation they once had. Get rid of Joyce and
    get back to a respect that this airline once had.

  • Nicholas


    I have a friend who is a pilot in the QF Group.

    It has taken him/her 40 minutes regularly to get through to crewing and this is for when she/he been asked to call in.

    I think this shows how bad the QF group is at the moment.

    The Chair has no idea of the damage that has been done to the Qantas Brand over the last year in particular, and is convinced everything is rosy…

    It’s the old maxim here isn’t it. Until you recognize and admit the problem, you won’t fix it.

    By that measure things in the QF Group will continue to get worse.

    Very very sad.

  • E bernard


    Joyce needs to Go and let someone with people skills take over the business and restore public faith in Qantas

  • Rod Pickin


    It’s time now to totally rejig cabin crew employment. Seriously this is not a job for life, we want young vibrant characters with smiles and a willingness to assist and to be happy in the task. At the moment that workforce is mostly just doing it for the money as the novelty of the job ended some years past. Time for contracts max three years with an optional extra year based on performance. There are other operators doing the same and delivering smiles and better service. The current system is truly outdated and just does not do it for the customer. Sorry boys and girls, time to park the trolley and go play with the grandies.

  • Dave


    It’s been a worldwide pandemic folks.
    NO BUSINESSES have been hit harder than airlines.
    Things are slowly but surely getting better and that will continue, over time. Everyone I know who has travelled with Qantas recently has had a really great experience.
    Of course for Virgin, they conveniently went bust right at the beginning, wrote off absolutely massive debts, then employed who they wanted, when they wanted.
    Maybe Qantas should have done the same and started with a clean sheet.
    Qantas flight attendants are already amongst the best paid in the world- maybe do some fact checking!

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