Ground crew win a pay rise, call off strike

dnata ground workers. Photo: Transport Workers Union - TWU/Facebook

Ground crew workers employed by Dubai National Air Travel Agency (dnata) have called off a strike planned at Australian airports for September 12, after a new collective agreement was agreed in principle.

The Transport Workers Union (TWU) said on September 8 that its members had successfully rebutted attempts to scale back overtime entitlements, while locking in job security provisions and a 17% pay rise over four years in a new enterprise agreement (EA).

“dnata workers will have a more secure future, achieving greater opportunities for part-timers to convert to full-time roles, and casuals to permanent,” the TWU said.

It said dnata agreed to “improve consultation, giving workers a say over changes before they’re decided”.

With back pay, workers will have an immediate pay rise of 12.6%, with a further 4.6% in 2023.

TWU national secretary Michael Kaine told a TWU Queensland state delegates’ conference that overworked ground staff “needed a fair deal” so that they could remain in the industry.

He said dnata workers, denied JobKeeper, have experienced two years of turmoil.

“They’re thrilled to have locked in greater financial security and the possibility of converting casual and part-time roles to secure, full-time positions.

“It shouldn’t be so hard for workers to achieve pay increases above bare minimums and job security,” Kaine said.

“In Qantas’ supply chain, workers have had to take on a corporate dictatorship, squeezing pay and conditions through commercial pressures after Qantas management illegally outsourced work.”

Kaine said chaos at airports would continue “until we regain the levels of training and experience the industry has lost”.

Qantas led the charge in gutting its workforce, and the Coalition government sent more experienced workers packing by denying them the wage subsidy lifeline.

Kaine said aviation needed to ensure good, safe and secure jobs are prioritised ahead of overpaid executives making decisions to line their own pockets. He said federal Labor needed to establish a “safe and secure skies commission” to deliver “quality service standards”.