Qantas maintenance secretly going offshore, claims union

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Qantas maintenance secretly going offshore, claims union

The aircraft maintenance engineers union has accused Qantas of sending work on its aircraft offshore while its members languish without jobs to do.

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The aircraft maintenance engineers union has accused Qantas of sending work on its aircraft offshore while its members languish without jobs to do.

Australian Licensed Aircraft Engineers Association (ALAEA) Federal President, Paul Cousins, said Qantas is continuing to secretly send aircraft for maintenance overseas while refusing to find work for willing Australian aircraft engineers.

The ALAEA is appearing before the Australian Industrial Relations Commission in Sydney seeking orders that Qantas find jobs for the six remaining engineers left without work following the decision to close Qantas' Sydney heavy maintenance centre, where more than 250 engineers were made redundant.

'We are aware of at least 22 aircraft that Qantas have outsourced for maintenance overseas — six Airbuses, six Boeing 747s, four Boeing 737s and six aircraft for repainting — on the grounds that it lacked capacity to carry out the maintenance in Australia,' Cousins said.

No work here

'Yet at the same time they are telling these engineers there is no work for them here.

'It is clear Qantas is once again attempting to soften up the public to accept offshore aircraft maintenance — something we know the public is strongly opposed to, especially on the grounds of safety and the outsourcing of Australian jobs.

'With the current negotiations for private ownership looming, it is more important than ever for Qantas to be honest with the public about its plans for maintenance and keeping the highest safety standards that are the benchmark of this airline.'

Cousins said overworked aircraft engineers had accumulated more than 1,000 years of annual leave by overworked engineers, and this was only one of many avenues in which Qantas can overcome the restrictions in the redeployment of the engineers.

No job cuts, claims takeover consortium

Meanwhile Airline Partners Australia (APA), the takeover vehicle in the Qantas bid, is sending the airline's 37,000 employees a letter claiming the deal would not result in wholesale job cuts.

'With support from Airline Partners Australia we believe Qantas can continue to grow, which is in Australia's interest as it is yours and ours,' said APA director Bob Mansfield.

He said there would be 'no impact' on employee entitlements and travel benefits. Unions are concerned about the future partly because Qantas budget airline Jetstar has been introducing non-union endorsed individual workplace agreements.

APA has failed to respond to union demands for an 'iron-clad' guarantee that jobs and entitlements would not be scaled back.

'A 747 load of scepticism'

Australian Workers Union National Secretary, Bill Shorten, said workers needed more convincing that the consortium would not seek to slash Qantas's wage bill. 'There's a 747 load of scepticism in the hangars,' he said.

Australian Manufacturing Workers Union boss Doug Cameron wants an unequivocal commitment to have the $10bn worth of A380 superjumbos or Boeing 787s currently on order maintained in Australia.

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