Members should read and become aware of a few matters of importance to all LAMEs working at Qantas. I will attach below the words sent today to Sandra Nieuwenhuijzen which should be seen as advice we believe all members should be following until otherwise informed. Before I do so, I think it important to put some context into the notice and shall do and briefly explain a recent Fair Work Commission decision.
The ALAEA has been continually frustrated by managers who are sent to consultation meetings presenting fancy Powerpoint presentations with graphs and charts that appear above board, but when properly analysed, don’t add up. When these matters are raised at subsequent meetings, the same managers just sidestep questions and consider their obligation to consult met, then implement whatever they like in order to meet their KPIs. We need this to stop before more redundancies are declared based on the bogus consultation meetings. On the other hand Qantas seem intent on relying on the goodwill of LAMEs volunteering to assist with local roster committees and other processes that are detrimental to job security and the airlines good safety record.
To add insult to injury the FWC has now considered a case in Perth where baggage handlers had taken over the PIC role on some aircraft tows. Their union fought this move; claiming that their wage agreement did not cover the function and its additional responsibility warranted a payment. It was thrown out by Fair Work on the grounds that the baggage handlers involved in the towing had volunteered for the function. In essence the case has highlighted to all unions that employees shouldn’t volunteer for any new tasks because, if you do, it can become part of your normal functions and you won’t get paid for it, however complex it may be. The story may sound familiar to those Avionic LAMEs who never got paid for 747LE training. The importance of our correspondence to Sandra may now be clearer to those members reading this notice. The correspondence is reproduced below.
Training of Cat A Licence LAMEs
Members report that they are being approached by AMEs seeking to become LAMEs via a Cat A internal training scheme to sign books as assessors approving their correct adherence to a list of tasks in an experience book. We have had no consultation regarding this new role for our members. The vast majority of our members are not trained to deliver training or carry out assessment and we are concerned that any authorisations in these books to date may be invalid as statutory qualifications to undertake this work may not be held and/or valid. In essence most of our members are not instructors and are not paid for that function. The few who are, have not had underpinning training to deliver this form of assessment, have had no consultation regarding the function or explanation about the responsibility and legal limitations of what they can and can’t do.
On that note we request consultation regarding the signatures AMEs are seeking in these books. Until such time as that consultation is concluded and we inform our members that this is the case, we will be advising all ALAEA members not to sign AME Cat A experience books. In light of recent court decisions, if pressure is applied to our members to do this or they are directed to sign them, they will be advised to contact our office for further instructions.
Around the country we are hearing reports that Qantas are attempting to roll out some form of different performance appraisal to the one contained in the Enterprise Agreement. We have not been consulted over this matter and believe that any variation to the process outlined in the EA would be a breach of Agreement. We request consultation over this matter.
Until that consultation is concluded and our members properly informed, we will be advising them not to undertake as an appraiser or participant in any variation to the performance appraisal process contained in the Enterprise Agreement.
As you would be aware, these meetings have been ongoing since late 2014. It appears that the company have either lost interest in further meetings or feel that discussions are at a stalemate. We are concerned on a number of grounds.
- We consider figures being used by the company to calculate the quantum of burn required to cover employees who had returned to work are incorrect. We have demonstrated this at subsequent meetings with the company. We have failed to secure acknowledgement from Qantas that our or any corrections are agreed or correct. The parties are now in a position that we do not know how much burn is required to meet the obligations in the Enterprise Agreement.
- After discussions with you and reports being filtered back from our membership, we are concerned that Qantas Engineering management may be falsely stating to Qantas Senior Management and Executives that the leave burn programme has being expensive and unsuccessful. We also understand that false statements to this affect would suit certain Engineering managers who have never supported the program either throughout the consultation process or prior to its inception. Figures being thrown around the workplace by some managers are grossly inaccurate and fail to take in many positive financial aspects of the leave burn program such as the lower average level of LAMEs as a result of staff returning from possible compulsory redundancy. These staff are now allowing leave of much higher salaried LAMEs to be taken releasing their more expensive accrued entitlements.
- Members report that some reconfig work will be assigned to Sydney in addition to the work used in the initial redundancy and leave burn calculations. An adjustment should be made to account for this new work.
As consultation seems to have stopped regarding leave burn, we demand it recommence until conclusion in your presence as the team initially assigned to these discussions are not assisting the process. If they are reassigned to the task we shall take the matter to more Senior Qantas managers. Our objective is not to limit leave burn. We would like the amount of additional leave to be accurate, cost effective for the company and part of our contribution to the efficiencies outlined during investor presentations.