Occupy Sydney supports Qantas workers

October 23, 2011
Occupy Sydney protesters
Occupy Sydney organised a protest outside the Qantas shareholders conference at UNSW on October 28.

Occupy Sydney activists organised a protest outside the Qantas shareholders conference on October 28 at the University of New South Wales in support of Qantas workers struggling for decent wages and job security.

Peter Somerville, the general manager of the Australian Licensed Aircraft Engineers Association, which is embroiled in a battle with Qantas management over job outsourcing and a new enterprise agreement, had addressed Occupy Sydney’s rally in Martin Place on October 22.

Somerville told the crowd: “Thanks very much for the invitation and we’re only too happy to be here and let you know what’s happening from our point of view and also to be part of Occupy Sydney and lend our support to what you are doing.”

The night before, Occupy Sydney adopted a statement of solidarity with Qantas employees.

The statement said: “Occupy Sydney declares its support for the courageous struggle of Qantas and Jetstar workers against their greedy bosses.

“Ours is a movement of the 99% of humanity against the obscene wealth and power of the 1% of corporate profiteers.

“Qantas workers, many struggling in low-waged, casual positions, are asking for a 5% per year pay rise that will barely keep up with the spiralling cost of living.

“But CEO Alan Joyce is receiving a 71 % pay increase — taking his total salary package to $5 million per year.

“We support the demands of Qantas unions. We welcome all workers and representatives of the struggle to join us in Martin Place.”

Somerville told the crowd: “We’ve been in the middle of an industrial dispute since last year. It’s a year this has been going on and we’ve been trying to negotiate our way though this. But Qantas is interested in conflict, not resolution. That’s our problem …

“In these circumstances, we know we have to fight. We know it’s going to be a hard fight, but we also know it’s a fight that we have to win. These are good Australian jobs. This is a company that is focused on short-term bonuses to its managers and not the welfare of its workforce.”

Video: Occupy Sydney Day 8 - Peter Somerville. indymediakam.

Video: Occupy Sydney protesters support Qantas workers. Peter Boyle.


The press has supported you up til now. Why wouldn't they? You have spent millions on advertising to make sure they do. But the public sees through the lies and is waking up to what you are really trying to do to the Icon! If you get your way, there won't be a Qantas in the future. Have a look at http://www.abc.net.au/unleashed/3597954.html
---"Qantas workers, many struggling in low-waged, casual positions, are asking for a 5% per year pay rise that will barely keep up with the spiralling cost of living"--- I suppose earning 70-85k a year for a low skilled job is called struggling. I would leave my current job to be a baggage handler! especially would love all the double-time and penalty rates you can get. ---"But Qantas is interested in conflict, not resolution. That’s our problem …"--- So because qantas doesnt want to automatically agree to the unions, then that means theyre only interested in conflict. Give me a break. Remember what happened to GM 3 years ago? Im sure the hundreds of thousands of workers there who lost their jobs over the last 20 years would go back in time and not insist on ridiculous wage agreements - which strangled the company. They might still have jobs.
As company owner in Australia I must support Qantas workers. CEO Alan Joyce is dirty boss. Who is behind Rothschild family again ??? Mark Melbourne
The union is mostly just demanding that their wages keep up with cost of living increases. I.e. they are demanding that their current conditions remain the same. Qantas wants to strangle their conditions. And Joyce gave himself a 70% pay rise for doing so. On conflict: I believe the actions of Qantas in grounding its entire fleet show exactly how much conflict they wanna have. The actions by the union are downright restrained in comparison. The GM comparison is flawed. GM found it increasingly difficult to sell cars for many reasons but Qantas has remained a very profitable company that sells flights quite easily. They have no excuse to do this except that they want it to be an even more profitable company. Also, the action is supported by technicians who keep planes safe. I'm quite happy for them to have overtime so they can do their job well.

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