||Issue No. 123||21 December 2001|
The Unmaking of History
International: Global Year in Review
Unions: A Year at the Barricades
Technology: Unions Online 2001
Republic: Terror Australis
Economics: 2001: Annus Horribilis
Campaign Diary: Melanie and Me
Politics: Tony Moore's Final Word
Review: You Are the Weakest Program
Legal: The New McCarthyism
The Locker Room
The First Bastion
Tom Collins' Christmas Wish
Qantas's Warfare Agenda Exposed
Qantas management is prepared for an industrial showdown and believes "now is the time" to bring on a major dispute with unions, according to an internal briefing not for management.
The document came to light in a week where maintenance workers from the AMWU and AWU voted to reject Qantas' zero wage rise offer.
The leaked briefing paper from a meeting of Qantas production managers shows that Qantas is prepared to bring on a dispute to meet its long-term objectives.
The notes for one of the managers states that Qantas would "use this dispute as a catalyst for change and better work behaviours. It also pre-empts controlling access to Annual leave and Rostered Days Off to promote the airline's industrial agenda.
Australian Workers Union national secretary Bill Shorten said Qantas had dragged out negotiations for six months.
"Qantas is saying that Christmas is the time to take on its workforce," he said. "So if there are any unhappy Qantas passengers worried about flights, they should be ringing Qantas and saying, `Why are you picking a fight with your workers at Christmas?"'
Shorten told the Melbourne Age that the airline was trying to imitate a "Patrick-style" waterfront dispute "with a prearranged plan to declare war on its own workforce".
Start-Up Agreement For New Ansett
Meanwhile, a new collective agreement has been finalised for workers to be employed in the new Ansett by the Fox-Lew consortium.
ACTU Secretary Greg Combet said that the agreement was designed to kick-start the new Ansett when Lindsay Fox and Solomon Lew take over the airline on February 1, 2002.
"This is a new agreement for a new airline," Combet says. "It will save 4,000 jobs and help pave the way for all redundant Ansett employees to receive their full entitlements. From the time that Ansett collapsed, these have been the unions' key objectives.
"The new agreement contains pay rates which are broadly comparable to previous Ansett and Qantas levels. New staffing levels, working arrangements and improved productivity will give the best possible chance for the commercial success of the airline."
Combet says the agreement covered pilots and cabin crew, terminal services and other ground staff. The agreement does not cover maintenance employees, who will continue to be employed by the Ansett administrators until the maintenance operations are sold.
Key features of the three-year agreement include:
* A 5% share of profits and equity for employees;
* A $4.2 million "pool" from which wage increases will be funded;
* A commitment to guarantee employee entitlements;
* Union representation rights; and
* A provision ensuring that employees cannot be required to work unreasonable hours.
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