||Issue No. 286||21 October 2005|
Lord of the Lobster Legs
Interview: Under Fire
Politics: And the Winners Are ...
Economics: The Common Wealth
History: Walking for Justice
International: Deja Vu
Legal: The Rights Stuff
Review: That Cinderella Fella
Poetry: Is Howard Kidding?
The Locker Room
Thus Spake Sydney Uni
Vote 1 Dictator
Buying peace Of Mind
Rev Kev Speaks
High Flyer Crashes Families
The Business Council of Australia board member announced, last week, that 3000 skilled maintenance positions would be shipped offshore if workers didn't give up existing entitlements.
AMWU national secretary, Doug Cameron, accused the national carrier of "bullying and intimidation", just a fortnight out from the opening of enterprise bargaining negotiations.
"Howard's legislation is designed to deny workers choice," Cameron said.
"Employers will use the hand he is dealing them to stand over Australian families. Qantas is saying to its workforce that this legislation means they have no choice - accept clawbacks or your jobs go overseas.
"This is just the first company that will use these laws to threaten and bully Australians."
Cameron challenged the Prime Minister to stand up to Dixon, one of his chief financial and political backers, or be shown to have lied to the public.
"John Howard claims to be the best friend of Australian workers well now he has the opportunity to put his rhetoric into action on behalf of thousands of families who are looking at losing their incomes."
Dixon has been an outspoken advocate of John Howard's IR regime, that seeks to replace collective bargaining with individual contracts; eliminate unfair dismissal rights; strip awards; and lower minimum conditions, including annual holiday entitlements.
Cameron said the AMWU would discuss business and operational matters with Qantas, "on their merits".
In doing that, he said, it would recognise the company remained one of the world's most profitable airlines and it continued to pay "enormous" executive salaries, including boosting Dixon's multi-million earn by more than 200 percent in three years.
"They are coming after our penal rates, annual leave and conditions, we know that," Cameron said.
"There are legitimate ways to compete that we will explore them in good faith," Cameron said. "But Australian can't compete, on wages, with countries that pay 60 and 80 cents an hour.
"The Prime Minister should recognise that and decide who's side he is on."
ALAEA federal secretary, Tim Heywood, said Australian
engineers had built and maintained the world's best air safety standards, and Qantas has profited from that.
Mr Heywood said engineers and maintenance workers were shocked to learn of Qantas' plans after their unions had initiated talks, a month ago, to discuss future work needs.
"The ALAEA is committed to working towards a solution and wishes to do this in co-operation with Qantas. However, we say to Qantas and, most importantly, to the Australian travelling public, that safety is not for sale," Heywood said.
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