USU/ASU Qantas airport delegates and officials had our first meeting with Qantas airport senior management on Monday 6th July via videoconference to discuss how the announcement by Alan Joyce on 25th June 2020 will affect USU/ASU members in customer service roles at airports.

On 26th June 2020 your USU/ASU wrote to Qantas industrial relations to ensure that we had information about the airport proposals well in advance of any meeting about the redundancy process so that your reps could examine and understand the information and be ready to ask questions and interrogate what was being put. Qantas did not provide the materials until after 1pm on Friday 3rd July and so the first opportunity to hold a meeting was the 6th July. We know that some Qantas airport management tried to suggest that your reps were delaying meeting with the company—this was untrue as the time line confirms. Why they would say this is anyone’s guess – sometimes managers like to shift the blame for their own inadequacies onto others, that may be the case here.

Unfortunately, the numbers and information provided by Qantas was wrong and in many ways made no sense to your reps and that became more and more obvious as our first meeting progressed. What we do know is that more people will be staying in USU/ASU covered airport roles than will be leaving via redundancy so it is extremely important that those who are making decisions about staying or opting to volunteer for redundancy do so with as much information as possible about how work will be organised.

By the close of Monday’s meeting we did not have that information and do not believe it was in the best interests of members to commence any process until that information was available.

We could not establish what structure Qantas management was aiming for post-redundancies nor could we establish how the ramp up post COVID -19 would play out. Management has their ideas on this but they were just not prepared to share them. We have had to insist on getting as much information as possible and have scheduled another meeting on Friday 10th July. Qantas have undertaken to provide us with additional materials by 11am on Thursday 9th July.

We need JobKeeper to continue
Another crucial part of the puzzle on what happens next is what the government will do about JobKeeper and whether they intend to continue this significant program past September.

Many of you have told us that if JobKeeper continues you will be able to stay at Qantas. That is why we have been campaigning to put pressure on the federal government to come clean with what their plans are. The Government is only adding to the uncertainty by not extending this program.

Of course we want this scheme to continue for the aviation industry and that is why today the ASU and TWU have placed full page advertisements in The Australian and the Australian Financial Review calling on the government to announce a package for aviation that includes continuing JobKeeper. We have also written to Scott Morrison along with a number of other aviation unions and aviation companies asking for this support.

We did ask Qantas to support the campaign, unfortunately unlike other companies in the industry they have not replied, this is so very disappointing as we all need to work together to make sure the aviation industry in Australia is as strong as it can be. This is not the time for a divide and conquer philosophy.

For more information on our campaign – check out — sign our petition, ring or email your local member of parliament and share our recent opinion piece from the Daily Telegraph and the Courier Mail. Aviation is important to Australia we deserve the government’s continued support.