Qantas, pilots get deadline for new short-term EBA

News

Qantas, pilots get deadline for new short-term EBA

Qantas and the pilots’ union have been given three weeks to finalise a new enterprise bargaining agreement, but it only lasts until the end of next year and then bargaining must begin again.

WantToReadMore

Get unlimited access to all of our content.

Qantas and the pilots’ union have been given three weeks to finalise a new enterprise bargaining agreement (EBA), but it only lasts until the end of next year and then bargaining must begin again.

Fair Work Australia has given the parties until 12 February to agree on a draft and notify FWA of any disagreements that need to be arbitrated.

The EBA delivers Qantas long-haul flight crew a 4.5 per cent pay rise from 1 January 2012 and 3 per cent increases this year and next.

FWA began arbitrating the dispute between Qantas and its unions after the airline shut down its operations briefly in late October 2011. Industrial action by the unions was banned.

Management prerogative
 
The unions wanted job guarantees and restrictions on the use of casual and contract labour, but Qantas said this would interfere with management prerogative to run the business.

Qantas said it was essential the EBA give it the flexibility to respond to competitive pressures and remain successful in a competitive.

However, Australian & International Pilots Association (AIPA) acting president Nathan Safe said the Fair Work determination showed Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce’s strategy of ‘all-out industrial war’ had been an exercise in futility.

The EBA will only remain in force until December 2014, when negotiations for a new one will begin.

‘We know that Qantas’s PR department will be out there attempting to spin this as some sort of win for Alan Joyce and his militant strategy, but the fact is that FWA has basically told everyone to go back to the drawing board and start again next year,’ Safe said.

Dispute ‘avoidable’
 
He said the industrial battle was entirely avoidable because the pilots were open to negotiation.

‘Yet thanks to the approach of this current management, everyone has been forced to punch themselves out, nobody got a result, and we’re now scheduled to do it all again next year,’ he said.

‘There have been no winners out of this debacle, and the biggest loser has been the flying kangaroo.’

Qantas spokeswoman Olivia Wirth said FWA had endorsed the airline’s right to manage its business.

‘The dispute was always about Qantas retaining the right to manage its business and retaining the flexibility we need in a competitive industry like aviation,’ she said.

Rejected
 
‘The union’s claims that would have significantly impacted management prerogative, were rejected.’

‘Had the union been successful with its claims, including its so-called job security claims, it would have meant that over time Qantas would not be financially viable.’

Wirth said FWA had accepted evidence of the financial position of the international operation and industry evidence of the competitive environment in which Qantas operated.

‘Qantas also achieved a number of productivity improvements and flexibilities,’ she said.
 
‘We are pleased that our long-haul pilots have certainty, and will receive pay rises.’
 
Post details