Airlines are starting to ramp up operations for a hopeful return to pre COVID traffic.  The combination of an ageing workforce, lack of training, and overzealous VR programs makes it apparent that LAMEs and AMEs are in short supply. Job vacancies are increasing. Managers are stating that future growth will be achieved through contractors.  This notice serves as advice for those considering contract work.

Management have transitioning long-term, well-paid positions into insecure contracts in other industries.  In aviation, this is happening to ground staff and flight attendants.  Now they are attacking us.  This causes problems for those seeking home loans.  Collective negotiation will go out the door.  If a decent EA is negotiated at one agency, it is shut. The airlines then register a new one and employ through it.  Recent contracts offered to LAMEs and AMEs contain horrendous conditions and limited or no workers compensation/error liability.  There can be no guaranteed weekly hours.  One hour to cancel a shift and no pay for the cancelled shift.  No prospect of long service leave, no travel benefits, or bonuses.  Wage rates are ever declining.  The most recent Jetstar contract LAME positions were lowered by $10,000 pa.  It’s time we all stood up and altered the narrative.

The ALAEA cannot tell people to reject work.  What we can do is recommend decent wage rates for those considering contracts.  Rates at airlines are well established and contain benefits beyond those offered to contractors.  Directly hired employees get staff travel, redundancy provisions, better leave entitlements, job security and choice of rostering.  If airlines want to avoid these conditions by using transient staff through labour hire, they should pay a premium.   We recommend that fair contractor rates should have a 25% premium over and above an equivalent directly hired employee.  That should increase to 50% for casuals (if not awarded sick or annual leave).  These amounts may cover conditions lost by those working in labour hire.   We publish the following rates as a guide:

 

 

Hourly rate for an average full B1 or B2 LAME with two active licences (including 30% shift)

QF – level 13

$79

Virgin

$84

Jetstar

$78

Recommended Contractor Rate

Permanent – $100

Casual – $120

 

Hourly rate for an average limited B1 LAME with one active licence (including 30% shift)

QF – level 11

$ 72

Virgin

$72

Jetstar

$66

Recommended Contractor Rate

Permanent – $88

Casual – $105

 

Hourly rate for an average Cat A LAME (including 30% shift)

QF – level 14

$51

Virgin

$49

Jetstar – level 5

$49

Recommended Contractor Rate

Permanent – $62

Casual – $75

 

Hourly rate for an average AME (including 30% shift)

QF- level 14

$47

Virgin

$46

Jetstar – level 5

$45

Recommended Contractor Rate

Permanent – $58

Casual – $69

 

The ALAEA is disheartened to see many licenced AMEs waiting for upgrades.  Contractors are eliminating AME career progression.  LAME training has ground to a halt. Proper work oversight is not occurring.  We must act together to end this decline.  The above rates are recommended and fair.  To work for any less would be a folly as we enter a period of employment growth. Please check your contract is good with us before signing.

Steve Purvinas

Federal Secretary

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