Home' Asian Aviation : AAV Dec Jan2011 2012. Contents 18 AsianAviation | DECEMBER 2011 / JANUARY 2012
e TWU reacted angrily, with national secretary
Tony Sheldon saying : "Qantas has not displayed
good faith in these negotiations, e TWU wanted
a sprint to the nish, but Qantas just hopped on the
treadmill. It looked as if they were moving, but they
weren t going anywhere."
According to the union, the dispute centres on
Qantas s refusal to agree to the same job security
provisions that hundreds of other companies have
AIPA also expressed disappointment that Qantas
management decided against the 21-day extension
of negotiations. Association Vice-President Captain
Richard Woodward said that pilots believed a
negotiated outcome was possible, but management had
instead chosen the drawn-out process of arbitration.
"Today s decision by Qantas management is
unfortunate because pilots have always been of
the view that a negotiated outcome was eminently
achievable. at s why we requested an extension
of the negotiation period. However, management
refused - they obviously believe that a decision
achieved through arbitration is preferable,"
AIPA remains con dent that it has a strong case.
"Qantas pilots simply want to operate Qantas ights.
at s why we re here in this dispute and that s what
we will continue to ght for. is isn t about pay and
it isn t about conditions -- it s about retaining the
skills and experience of Qantas pilots in Australia,"
Qantas has conceded it made some progress in
negotiations with AIPA, but said that both parties
concluded that an agreement could not be reached.
e airline said it negotiated in good faith with the
pilots for 15 months, with over 50 meetings.
AIPA, meanwhile, is challenging the FWA s ban
on industrial action, saying that its low-key campaign
of wearing red ties and making announcements on
ights before take-o caused no economic damage
to Qantas. A Federal Court hearing on AIPA s claim
has been set for February. e TWU previously
considered legal action against the FWA s ruling, but
decided against it.
FWA has ruled that the three unions cannot take
industrial action for the period of arbitration and for
the term of FWA s determination -- which could be
for up to four years.
Qantas and the ALAEA appeared to have made the
most progress in their negotiations, but still failed to
reach a new agreement and both parties decided that
FWA should resolve the dispute.
Joyce said the ALAEA wants to "bind Qantas
maintenance to the past; to thumb their nose at
world s best-practice regulations...and continue with
outdated work practices on new-generation aircra ".
At the end of the 21-day negotiation period,
ALAEA federal secretary Steve Pur vinas had said
that four or ve issues remain to be resolved and
hoped that these could be resolved before Christmas,
although that seemed unlikely as Asian Aviation went
Arbitration can be a lengthy process in any matter,
but the Qantas situation is complicated by the fact it
involves three di erent unions with three di erent
sets of issues. Under the FWA system, three benches
comprising three commissioners each will hear the
unions and airline s cases. is process alone could
take a month to complete.
As if resolving its labour issues isn t hard enough,
Qantas has the equally hard -- if not harder -- job of
rescuing its brand, which has been severely damaged
by the ongoing industrial action.
In late October, Joyce said customers were " eeing".
High-value bookings on east coast routes were down
25 percent from the same period a year ago. " at s
the most lucrative part of our ying business and it is
bleeding badly," Joyce said.
International bookings had also fallen, with
November bookings 10 percent lower than
management forecasts made at a time when the
international business was already accounting for
signi cant losses. "Our customer research shows an
alarming increase in people who intend not to y
with Qantas," said Joyce, pointing to an increase in
that gure in the domestic business from 5 percent to
20 percent, with the gure for international travellers
surging to nearly 30 percent.
By early December, the FWA s termination of
industrial action had resulted in some relief. e
airline s domestic for ward bookings were back to
normal levels while international bookings were
recovering at a slower rate.
In early November, Qantas launched a special
o er for passengers who had been a ected by the
grounding. Passengers who purchased tickets for
travel between 5pm on Saturday 29 October and
midnight on Monday 31 October and whose
ights were disrupted are eligible for a free return
economy ight on any domestic or trans-Tasman
route, for travel between 14 December 2011 and
14 December 2013.
" roughout the long period of industrial activity
we have been acutely aware of the impact on our
customers," Joyce said. "Now that no more industrial
action can take place, and the cloud of further strike
action has li ed, we are 100 percent focused on
what matters to customers -- getting them, to their
destinations, safely, on time and in comfort, and
rewarding their loyalty to Qantas."
The airline s charm offensive isn t working,
however, if the responses to a recent social media
competition are anything to go by. In late November,
Qantas launched its Qantas Luxury competition on
Twitter, asking people to describe their "dream luxury
in- ight experience" in order to win a pair of Qantas
rst class pyjamas and a toiletries kit. Before the day
was out more than 22,000 tweets had been sent under
the hashtag, with the majority expressing passengers
anger over the industrial dispute, grounding and the
airline in general.
While the arbitration process is likely to take months,
rescuing the airline s image may take far longer.
"Today's decision by Qantas
management is unfortunate
because pilots have always
been of the view that a
negotiated outcome was
eminently achievable." --
AIPA Vice-President Captain
By 28 October, Qantas said the industrial action had cost it A$68 million in lost revenue.
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