Engineers battle below inflation scare tactic

IN MAY, around 1500 Qantas aircraft engineers took strike action in Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne over a pay claim. They took this action despite rumours of 100 strike breakers being offered $100,000 for six months work in their place.

Over 18 flights were cancelled during two days of rolling stoppages.

Members of the Australian Licensed Aircraft Engineers Association (ALAEA) are seeking a 5 per cent pay rise per year, slightly more than inflation.

Qantas is offering an insulting below-inflation rise of 3 per cent.

With an expected record $1.5 billion profit coming in and Qantas being worth more than any one of the six U.S. carriers, the argument that it can’t afford a 5 per cent pay rise is a lie. Qantas management gave themselves a 22 per cent pay rise last year. CEO Geoff Dixon’s pay packet is now over $6 million.

The company’s market share increased by 2.2 per cent in the last year due to record high load factors.

Qantas has even told investors that they are “successfully managing fuel costs.” That’s because it has increased ticket prices by 3.3 per cent in the last two months.

Geoff Dixon is happy to allow rumours of strike breakers, while not having actually used any, in order to frighten the leaders of the ALAEA.

The surprise of the Qantas dispute is not that it took off but that it is being pushed by rank and file engineers.

“It is an excuse about the fuel, it’s all about profit,” says Transport Workers Union spokesperson Mick Pieri.

It is clear Qantas intends to get that profit increase by sacrificing the jobs and living standards of their employees.

The TWU covers other airline workers who will soon claim their own pay rise, along with air traffic controllers. If unionists strike together they will certainly clip the wings of Qantas arrogance and possibly beat the inflation cap.

By Tom Orsag


Solidarity meetings

Latest articles

Read more

Time to hunt building bosses, not ducks

Instead of talk about duck hunting, the unions should be doing something about the 50 and 60-hour weeks that are the rule on construction sites.

Melb Uni’s week-long strike for secure jobs and a real wage...

On Monday 21 August, following a half day campus-wide strike by Melbourne University NTEU members, five areas including Arts and Law went on to strike for the rest of the week.

Pay rise for NSW teachers, but no workload relief and future...

Some teachers in NSW will receive large pay rises following a deal with the NSW Labor government. But the agreement stretches over four years and contains other disturbing clauses.



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here