Twenty graduating Qantas apprentices have become the first aircraft maintenance engineers in decades to complete their training without being offered secure positions by the airline.
The Australian Manufacturing Workers' Union, the Australian Workers Union and the Electrical Trades Union intervened in the Fair Work Commission on February 7 to stop Qantas terminating their employment.
The unions say Qantas's stance contravenes its union agreement, wastes more than $5 million invested in the apprentices' training and undermines the airline's ability to service its aircraft. The Asia-Pacific region is expected to be desperately short of aviation engineers in future.
AMWU assistant national secretary Glenn Thompson said: “The unions will fight this, it just won't fly.”