As we endure what is perhaps the worst crisis to impact the commercial aviation industry in history, the ALAEA are working tirelessly to achieve the best possible outcome for all of our members.
I appreciate some of you are eager to take your VR package, and for a variety of reasons, this needs to happen promptly. We are endeavouring to facilitate your needs ASAP.
Our primary focus and priority is to save as many jobs as possible. The main areas currently affected are Jetstar Newcastle, Qantas Sydney and Virgin Australia. The ALAEA has a long history of fighting to save jobs and we are utilising our experience, our highly competent industrial/legal team and an extremely committed ALAEA Executive to do so.
Your ALAEA Executive is meeting three times per week to keep abreast of changes and formulate the best possible strategies, accordingly. Many of the Executive members also have their jobs threatened – myself included. The most compelling thing to deal with is the uncertainty of what our future holds.
Some members may need to turn their minds to redeployment opportunities. Obviously, those discussions still need to happen with the various companies and work groups. Now may be a good time to start those discussions with your partner and to start looking into potential options and the logistics of those options.
Another consideration is that it is likely that full time employment for those who retain their employment is some time away. It would be prudent to understand the implications that this may have on your superannuation and other financial obligations. This may affect your decision to take VR, or instead instigate a need to seek supplemental employment. You all have a tremendous skillset and professional experience that most employers would crave. For those of you wishing to remain employed, the ALAEA will be utilising all possible mitigating measures to enable this to happen. The details of these measures will become evident in time.
Additionally, we will be seeking to rectify all outstanding money owed (underpayments). It is only reasonable for you to be best positioned to make an informed decision about your future. This is particularly relevant for Qantas members.
Qantas Group LAMEs
In relation to the Qantas redundancies, a letter was sent to IR on 13 July with a list of questions and an indication of our willingness to meet for consultation. We are yet to receive a response.
The ALAEA has indicated to Qantas management that we are available to meet for consultation for the TSS group. We await their response. We do not anticipate any Compulsory Redundancies in this group. Opportunities may be opened for LAMEs in Sydney to transfer to these different roles.
Consultation on the closure of Jetstar Heavy Maintenance in Newcastle has begun. If approached for a one-on-one meeting, we strongly advise any members there to inform management that they are represented by the ALAEA.
Regular fortnightly stand down consultation hookups are occurring with the company for Eastern, Tamworth base and Sunstate. The latest stand down notifications go to the end of July.
The Virgin process is currently stalled. The unions and Virgin management seem to be in a holding pattern awaiting direction from Bain. I am sure that each of you has kept abreast of the information from management, as well as that from unions. The message would be consistent and along the lines of – we want to share more but we are simply not being told anything. Bain has not told us if they want to keep or sell VARA. Moreover, they do not know how many aircraft they will fly, nor how many staff they want to keep. Members will be advised as soon as information becomes available.
Alliance Airlines in Perth recently voted up a four year EA at approximately 2% PA. Alliance Airlines in Adelaide are about to commence negotiations on their EA.
CHC has felt the pain of reductions in oil and gas due to COVID-19. This has resulted in 12 redundancies. Their next round of EA negotiations begin in August.
Babcock Mission Critical Services
There has been an EA variation. A one year extension was recently voted up and has now been lodged with the FWC. Once it is approved, it will provide a 2.2% pay increase backdated to March this year.
Negotiations for a replacement EA are ongoing and the parties have narrowed the outstanding issues down to 2-3 key items.
Due to the COVID-19 impacts and Emirates employees not being eligible for Jobkeeper, the company has announced a major restructure to Australian operations which will mean a reduction in the size of Melbourne engineering and the outsourcing of engineering operations in Perth. Consultation is now occurring with the ALAEA and ASU.
Negotiations for a replacement EA were underway but are currently on hold due to the impacts of the pandemic.
There was a recent announcement that the 717s operated by National Jet Systems were acquired by Qantas Group. Cobham are retaining its engineering functions for NJS for a 18-24 month period until further review.
Regular consultation is occurring with the company regarding stand downs and Jobkeeper. Members recently rejected a company proposal to vary the current EA which would have cancelled the July 2020 2.5% pay increase. For the present, the company has now backed away from this proposal.
A further round of redundancies have occurred recently, with the company’s current engineering contract and workforce now located in Victoria. EA negotiations for a replacement agreement remain on hold.
Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service
Recent consultation occurred with the ALAEA and AFAP regarding a company proposal to vary the current EAs so as to defer the July 2020 2.0% pay increase. Union members rejected the proposal and the unions have convinced the Company to not proceed with the EA variation.
The replacement Engineers EA was recently approved by the FWC and came into operation from 15 May, providing backdated increases for 2018, 2019 and 2020. Regular consultation is occurring with the company concerning stand downs and the Jobkeeper scheme.
EA negotiations for a replacement EA were well underway but were put on hold in March due to the pandemic. Ongoing consultation is occurring regarding roster and Jobkeeper scheme arrangements.
The ALAEA and other unions have raised concerns with CASA in ensuring that members can continue to work from home and not return to office workplaces prematurely in certain locations during the current pandemic. A Workplace Relations Group consultation meeting is scheduled for 30 July.
Unfortunately, these difficult times occasionally give rise to unfounded rumours, which as we know are not healthy for people’s welfare. Sometimes they are incited to be divisive and to undermine the ALAEA. They can also be a product of limited information. The ALAEA is very much aware of the need to disseminate information, and we do so as it comes to hand. We are about to start more online feedback and Q&A sessions for specific airlines and workplaces. Further details will come out soon.
The Association can be your best protection during times like this. But in order to do so, the rules of the Association require that members are financial to receive any of the rights, benefits and privileges of membership. Members will become unfinancial if their fees have not been paid within 30 days of them being due (refer Rule 8(1)). We also understand that there are members experiencing financial stress and hardship. If you are having difficulties with your dues, please contact the office.
Please take care of yourselves and your colleagues. It is important to maintain regular dialogue with your friends. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to the ALAEA if you need anything. We are always here for you.
ALAEA Federal President