Employees At Qantas Airlines Will Stage A Industrial Action





Employees At Qantas Airlines Will Stage A Industrial Action

By Mike Mitchell
Employees At Qantas Airlines Will Stage A Industrial Action  

December 16, 2009 - Australia - Professional engineers at Qantas and Jetstar will commence the next stage of protected industrial action tomorrow in pursuit of better recognition of their crucial role in maintaining the safe and efficient operation of the airline’s fleet. 

Groups of engineers working at Qantas’ heavy maintenance facilities in Sydney, Brisbane and Avalon will begin stopping work for periods of up to five business days throughout the rest of December and into January. 

The engineers’ union, the Association of Professional Engineers, Scientists and Managers, Australia (APESMA) said discussions with Qantas for a new collective agreement had failed to make adequate progress. 


A major stumbling block remains Qantas’ refusal to negotiate about the key issues of professional recognition and fatigue management. The highly-qualified professional engineers at Qantas form a small, but crucial, part of the engineering workforce. They are responsible for maintaining the safety and airworthiness of the Qantas’ fleet. They must sign off on any significant maintenance work before planes are allowed to fly.

APESMA Senior Industrial Officer Alison Rose said several meetings had been held with Qantas management since professional engineers first took industrial action in mid-November but had not been fruitful. A key issue in the dispute is fatigue caused by the out of hours work required to maintain the fleet. There have been occurrences where in a 24 hour period, some senior engineers at Qantas were required to respond to critical complex engineering issues with less than 5 hours sleep between jobs. 

Engineers are also demanding company-sponsored professional development to keep pace with new aviation technology. “Professional engineers feel they have been left with little choice by Qantas management but to ramp up industrial action,” Ms Rose said. “Professional engineers take extreme pride in their work, but feel it is not properly recognized by Qantas. They have never shirked when management has asked for higher productivity or introduced new technology.  


However, there are series issues of professional development and fatigue that must be addressed by management in the current bargaining round. “These stopwork periods will inevitably have an impact on Qantas’ maintenance schedule and may impede the airline’s ability to put planes in the air. We ask passengers to understand that this industrial action has been taken reluctantly, and is the result of management stubbornness.” 

The Association of Professional Engineers, Scientists and Managers, Australia (APESMA) is the largest national non-profit organization representing professional employees including scientists, engineers, managers, architects, IT professionals, pharmacists, surveyors, veterinarians, collieries staff and many other professionals. Over 25,000+ members are found in all areas of public and private employment across Australia. 

Qantas Airways Limited is the national airline of Australia. The name was originally "QANTAS", an acronym for "Queensland and Northern Territory Aerial Services". Nicknamed "The Flying Kangaroo", the airline is based in Sydney, with its main hub at Sydney Airport. It is Australia's largest airline and is the world's second oldest airline. Qantas is headquartered in the Qantas Centre in the Mascot suburb of the City of Botany Bay, Sydney, New South Wales. In 2009, Qantas was voted the sixth best airline in the world by research consultancy firm Skytrax, a slight drop from 2008 (third), 2007 (fifth), 2006 (second), and 2005 (second). 

Qantas was founded in Winton, Queensland on 16 November 1920 as Queensland and Northern Territory Aerial Services Limited by Paul McGuiness, Hudson Fysh, Fergus McMaster and Arthur Baird. The airline's first aircraft was an Avro 504K purchased for £1425. The aircraft had a cruising speed of 105 kilometres per hour (65 mph) and carried one pilot and two passengers.  

Eighty-four year old outback pioneer Alexander Kennedy was the first passenger, receiving ticket number one. The airline operated air mail services subsidised by the Australian government, linking railheads in western Queensland. Between 1926 and 1928, Qantas built seven de Havilland DH.50s and a single DH.9 under license in its Longreach hangar. In 1928 a chartered Qantas aircraft made the inaugural flight of the Royal Flying Doctor Service of Australia, departing from Cloncurry.

 ©AvStop Online Magazine                                                                 Contact Us                                                  Return To News


AvStop Aviation News and Resource Online Magazine

Grab this Headline Animator