After unilaterally locking out the Qantas workforce in October, grounding the fleet and leaving workers and travellers stranded, Qantas CEO Alan Joyce has been handed a positive outcome by the federal government’s Fair Work Australia (FWA).
Joyce’s lockout resulted on October 30 in FWA terminating the legal, protected industrial action that Qantas unions had voted for, rewarding Joyce’s industrial sabotage.
FWA allows lockouts without restriction, but requires unions to give one month's notice before taking industrial action — giving corporations time to organise lockouts or scab labour to undermine industrial action.
On January 23, FWA endorsed a three-year agreement between Qantas and the Australian Licenced Aircraft Engineers Association (ALAEA), covering 1600 licensed engineers.
In return for allowing Qantas to introduce extended-hours rosters more easily, the agreement gives engineers a 3% annual pay rise – below the rate of inflation.
The agreement also puts Qantas profits before safety, specifying ALAEA will work with Qantas to allow trainees to “perform basic maintenance under supervision”.
Job security provisions that the ALAEA wanted were not included in the agreement.
But Joyce was most enthusiastic that the agreement ensures “the union cannot take any industrial action before 2015”.
The unions covering ground workers and pilots are still before FWA.
However, in another indication that FWA is stacked in favour of employers, both unions are barred from taking further industrial action.