As 2022 draws to an end it is an opportune time to reflect on the tremendous and voluminous work that has been undertaken by the ALAEA staff and Executives, and to offer a little insight into what has transpired in our industry this year.
It has been pleasing to finally achieve in-principle Enterprise Agreements with Qantas mainline, Jetstar, Qantas Eastern and Network Aviation offering modest outcomes. As you read through this report you will note from the other employer groups that there are some excellent EA outcomes being achieved broadly, as employers finally realise there is a profound shortage of LAME’s, not only in Australia but across the globe.
The following is a brief summation of just some of the work completed by ALAEA staff-
Noel Spears- ALAEA Industrial Officer
- Lifeflight- A new Lifeflight Engineers EA was negotiated in the first half of 2022. The new EA came into operation from 26 July 2022. There was a significant market adjustment increase, backdated to July 2022 and a change in the classification level definition which meant advancement for some members. Further increase from 1 December this year and additional annual pay increases applying from 1 July 2023, 2024 and back ended increase from July 2025, with a nominal expiry date of 30 June 2025.
- Regional Express- After lengthy negotiations, a new Rex Engineers came into operation from 7 October 2022. The EA provided for annual pay and allowance increases from 1 July 2022 (backdated), and further annual increases from July 2023, 2024 and 2025 with a nominal expiry date of 30 June 2025.
- Cobham Regional Services- After a hard-fought campaign in 2021 to fight off the Company’s flawed Greenfields agreement attempt, negotiations for a replacement EA took place from late last year and for most of this year. A new EA was finally approved by the Fair Work Commission and came into operation from 11 November 2022. The EA provides for pay and allowance increases from July 2021 (backdated), 1 July 2022(backdated and July 2023, 2024). The nominal expiry date of 30 June 2025.
- Babcock MCSA- The negotiations for a new EA at Babcock have turned into a long running saga. Three Managing Directors at the Company over a 12-month period has not helped the negotiation process. After a frustrating lack of progress in negotiations that commenced in November 2021, the ALAEA applied for a Protected Action Ballot of members which was strongly voted up in November this year. A PIA campaign is ongoing, but the Company are expected to shortly issue a revised salary model classification structure and the parties are scheduled to have an in person EA meeting in Adelaide in mid-January and hopefully this may lead to a breakthrough in negotiations.
- Cobham/Leidos Special Mission- Negotiations for a new EA are ongoing but getting to the pointy end at the end of 2022. The ALAEA has made clear to the Company that the final outstanding issues need to be resolved before there can be in-principle agreement reached. Negotiations will resume in mid-January 2023 but the Company have flagged they intend to proceed to a formal vote around late January/early February.
- Northern NSW Helicopter Rescue Service- After negotiations throughout this year, the Fair Work Commission has now approved a new Engineers EA for members at NNSWHRS. The EA will come into operation from 27 December 2022 and provides form pay and allowance increases to apply from July 2022 (backdated) and further annual increases from July 2023, 2024 and 2025. Additionally, the increment level system provides for annual increases of 1.5% within a 21-level structure. The nominal expiry date is 30 June 2026.
- Cathay Pacific- After the Covid pandemic put a hold on enterprise agreement negotiations over the last 2 years, discussions for a new EA have now resumed in December 2022. The ALAEA has been working with base EA reps on a bargaining log of claims which has now been presented to the Company. An in-person EA meeting will be held on 9 January and hopefully good progress can be made in the first quarter of next year.
- United Airlines- Due to the impacts of the Covid pandemic, two MOUs were completed with the Company in 2021 and 2022 that provided out of EA annual pay increases. The parties have now reached agreement to resume formal EA negotiations from mid-February next year. Members are currently considering an update bargaining log of claims as the earlier negotiations went on hold from March 2020 when the pandemic impacted.
- Toll Helicopters- Negotiations for a new EA are ongoing with the most recent EA meeting held on 8 December. While good progress has been made over recent months, there are still several key issues that need to be resolved before the parties reach agreement on an EA package. Negotiations are likely to resume in January 2023.
- Royal Flying Doctor Service WA- Negotiations for a new EA for members at RFDS WA in Perth are ongoing but at the most recent discussions, held on 15 December, nearly all issues have now been resolved. The base EA reps are holding further workplace consultation with engineering employees on the proposed EA package. The parties will resume discussions in January next year to finalise the proposed agreement and the expectation is there should be a formal vote by about February next year.
- Eastern Tamworth-The current Tamworth LAMEs EA has passed the nominal expiry date of 30 June 2021. The Qantas wage freeze policy delayed the commencement of negotiations for a replacement EA but discussions eventually started in the last quarter of this year. Negotiations are expected to recommence around late January 2023.
- Eastern Australia Airlines (QantasLink) The current EAA Agreement expired on 31 December 2019. The Covid pandemic put EA negotiations on hold in March 2020. Negotiations resumed from December 2021 and have been ongoing throughout this year. It has been a difficult and frustrating process given the Qantas Group restrictive wage policy. A Protected Action Ballot was strongly supported by members in November. The good news is a recent breakthrough in negotiations has meant an in-principle agreement has been reached on a new EA deal and workplace consultation is currently underway. A formal vote is expected to be held mid January 2023.
- Emirates- Due to a poor Company EA offer, there was a “no” vote on the EA that occurred in February 2020. The Covid pandemic then delayed the resumption of negotiations until earlier this year. A new EA was finally voted up and came into operation from 7 September and the 3-year Agreement provide for a 10% pay adjustment upfront backdated to apply from 1 July 2022.
- CASA- The ALAEA has participated in the Workplace Relations Group consultation forum. It is to be hoped that federal public sector bargaining will resume in 2023 under the framework of new arrangements being brought in by the Albanese Labor Government. Members recently received a 3.0% increase under the Public Sector Interim Workplace Arrangements and the ALAEA will also work with other unions including PA and the AFAP to get bargaining moving again at CASA in 2023.
- Other companies-As well as member assistance and dealing with other matters involving the above companies, the ALAEA has also provided assistance and representation to members at a diverse range of other aviation companies.
Steve Re- ALAEA Technical Officer
This year has been busy on the regulatory front. After many years, CASA management has finally recognised the urgency of repairing the licencing gaps created by the introduction of Part 66 and the effect it has had on the GA sector. They have also started serious work on addressing the issues created in relation to CAR 31 legacy aircraft that became Type rated under Part 66. Both issues have recently gone out for initial industry consultation. We will be making a formal submission in the new year on both of these.
At the same time, they have forged ahead with regulatory development of Part 43 for GA Maintenance. Despite numerous issues being raised about safety and training standards and increased liability and costs to LAMEs, CASA has published a Summary of Consultation (SOC) that brushes off the concerns raised. At times arrogantly describing concerns raised by the ALAEA and many ALAEA members as perceived, as in “a perceived unacceptable lowering of safety standards” and “the perceived need for maintenance organisation approvals to ensure appropriate levels of safety “. Apparently, if an experienced LAME, who is also a US FAA A and P holder points out that the proposed system is a lessor standard than the US and has also had the necessary safety mechanisms pulled out, this is just a perception.
2023 will be a very busy year in the regulatory space to advance the changes necessary to bring about a functional and useful progressive licence to service the GA sector. It will also be a very busy year, once again requiring assistance from ALAEA members to try to put safety back into the Civil Aviation Safety Regulations.
We’ve also been busy assisting members with licencing issues, including Trans Tasman Mutual Recognition (TTMRA), and CAR 42ZC instruments, well as providing advice on certification scope.
Sean Morgan- ALAEA Solicitor
- Sydney Seaplanes – We acquired orders in the Chief Industrial Magistrates Court of NSW enforcing the underpayment of a member in GA against his former employer.
- Training Bonds – Numerous Training Bond matters were resolved without having to go to court. However, this did cause great anguish to the affected persons and utilise extensive ALAEA resources, please seek ALAEA advise before signing training bonds.
- FedEx – We successfully negotiated the first stand-alone agreement for FedEx engineers.
- Pacific Air Express – We assisted members in Pacific Air Express insolvency to wind-up this company so that they could access FEG for the non-payment of their entitlements when Pacific Air Express went into administration.
- Disciplinary, Medical and Workers Compensation – We assisted numerous members in both GA and the major airlines with disciplinary and medical matters.
- Qantas -Significantly, we audited the LAME grade progression for all Qantas members, as a result numerous court applications have ensued. One is currently filed with another to be filed in the new year and potentially more to follow.
Brad Stewart – ALAEA National Union Organiser
- Triage – First point of contact for members with industrial matters. This year we introduced a triage system to ensure our industrial workload was managed as efficiently as possible. Brad assisted numerous individual members with industrial enquires throughout the year.
- Wage underpayments – successful in retrieving $10,000 in underpayments for two ALAEA members in the last quarter of 2022
- CHC EA – Currently negotiating with CHC Helicopters. Members voted down an inferior EA Offer in early December are seeking wage equality and a better wages outcome. CHC has made minor changes to their offer and is intending to release it before Christmas.
- ALAEA Introductory Reps Course 2023 – The ALAEA has scheduled the next IRC for the 21, 22 & 23 March 2023
- Venue: ALAEA federal office -Sydney, 25 Stoney Creek Road, BEXLEY, NSW 2207
Glynn Sowter ALAEA Industrial Officer
- Qantas – Successfully pursued an unfair dismissal against Qantas (Matthews v Qantas  FWC 654), achieving the highest possible award plus a decision saying he was innocent. This was unsuccessfully appealed by Qantas (Qantas v Matthews  FWCFB 111).
- PHI Helicopters EA – Protracted PIA battles against PHI in WA, resulting in the members achieving more than we originally asked for and PHI sacking their HR team. The new Greenfields EA included 130,000 minimum LAME base rate and $169,000 at the higher end (plus allowances) —5% Immediate uplift in Salaries -An additional $4,500 per annum in DTA payments – Category Allowance of $10K per annum and Type Allowance of $3K per annum – Paid Annual Leave with a paid 6-Week Break each year – Even-Time Rosters locked In – Protection from jobs being outsourced to low-wage labour hire – Full salary paid during isolation/quarantine + $152 DTA – $400 per night shared accommodation allowance – $300 per night Offshore allowance- Demob Flight Times locked – Additional 6-weeks redundancy payments – Cyclone pay for full period employees unable to mobilise or not work due to inclement weather
- Airbus Oakey – EA voted up after four years of bargaining.
- Qantas TSS – agreement in principle reached with Qantas TSS after four years of bargaining.
- Underpayments – Numerous underpayment matters settled with members, across GA and regional receiving their entitlements.
- Disciplinary matters – Many various disciplinary matters where the members retained employment and/or received minimal sanctions.
- Legal Studies – Whilst achieving the above Glynn finished law school with a GPA of 6.5.
Erin & Deb – ALAEA Membership (front desk)
The ALAEA membership’s team (Deb & Erin’s) year has been a busy one covering Administration and financial duties along with answering all the email/phone queries from our members.
2022 has also seen our “New Member” intake on the rise which is very pleasing.
Please remember if you change your details to contact the girls, especially if its your credit card. Much time is wasted chasing members up for outstanding payments.
As you can see a lot has been accomplished by the team at the ALAEA.
2022 saw the election of a new Executive team, with some new faces to compliment the old, who professionally dedicate their time and expertise to represent a great cross-section of our industry.
We have reached a critical moment in Australian aviation where there is a significant skills shortage. Moving forward we will need to work collectively to combat complex and often unnecessary bureaucracy with the regulators. We need to pressure employer groups to train apprentices and enable AME’s to become LAME’s. These responsibilities are incumbent upon us all, we can all be part of the solution.
The aviation industry has endured an immensely challenging business environment and it is, without a doubt, the hard work of the ALAEA team that has afforded a much needed and successful turn around of this environment for its workers. I am privileged to work with, and for, people who want to achieve the best possible working conditions for all and who do so with tremendous expertise, dedication and insight.
Wishing you all a Merry Christmas and some quality time with family and friends.