Dear ALAEA members,
As another tumultuous year draws to an end and COVID throws yet another variant at us, it would be fair to say we are turning the corner and looking at a more prosperous 2022 for our industry. It is commendable that the majority of Australian aviation companies have survived the worst our industry has seen, you, our members, have been integral to this survival by taking significant hits to take home pay, but at the same time offering greater flexibilities. Unfortunately, some companies have taken advantage of the difficult situation by utilising aggressive and unnecessary industrial relations tactics to adversely affect some of our members. This has resulted in unprecedented workloads for our staff at the ALAEA.
It is tremendous to see Virgin survive and prosper following a very close call with the liquidators. The ALAEA, in conjunction with some hard-working reps was able to secure a reasonable EA outcome and rostering solutions.
Many Qantas members have realised substantial backpays due to the rectification of some payroll errors totalling well over a million dollars and there is more work to be done on this matter in 2022. There has also been significant monies returned to members’ super accounts due to unpaid EASA allowance contributions, again due to the vigilant and tenacious work of the ALAEA team.
Perhaps the most significant outcome of the year was the utilisation of Privacy Laws by the ALAEA’s Industrial/Legal team to successfully stop overzealous employers from accessing personal Individual Healthcare Identifiers (IHI) numbers.
Regrettably, there have been a few casualties as a result of COVID. One in particular is Pacific Air Express going into administration. The ALAEA is currently working overtime to secure members individual entitlements which is around hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Whilst there is a perception the ALAEA is a ‘Qantas’ union, or only services the ‘big airlines’, this certainly isn’t the case. Whilst it is true we utilise large amounts of resources to service those airlines members, it can be seen by the following reports from out hardworking Industrial/Legal team that we also direct a significant amount of resources across the entire membership. Having the market share of the big airline membership base affords us the ability to substantively represent members of the greater aviation industry from GA, Helicopters, Regional Airlines and independent AMO’s.
Brad Stewart- ALAEA Industrial Officer
It has been a challenging year for Brad, being employed in Victoria has meant working in isolation from home for a considerable length of time. Brad has done a superb job representing the interests of JQ members across the country and many of the regional members far and wide. He even managed to get a reasonable EA deal over the line at Jet Aviation in what can only be described as trying times.
Carbine are attempting to vary their EA to delete the agreed pay increase for this month, claiming that Jetstar are not passing on any increases and are under pressure from several other labour hire companies.
Leave and Roster dispute. CHC has been forcing members to take leave.
EA Variation East Sale (April-October 2021) – in FWC waiting for approval.
- EA (currently on hold).
- Multiple disciplinary matters.
- Higher duties dispute for members stepping up to supervisor roles (assisted by Matt Whiley).
Network Turbine Solutions (NTS) WA
EA negotiations (with Assistant Federal Secretary-Peter Gill).
Working through the industry to get a better understanding of where our members are placed and how we can provide optimal service to them.
Noel Spears- ALAEA Industrial Officer
We are very fortunate to have Noel on our team, his many years of experience coupled with a vast understanding of a great number of different enterprise agreements is indispensable.
Regional Express (REX)
The current Rex Engineers EA has passed the nominal expiry of 30 June 2021. A final pay increase of 2.5% under the EA was applied from 30 June 2021 after the ALAEA resisted earlier attempts by Rex to seek to cancel the increase. Negotiations for a replacement EA are underway and will continue into 2022.
- The ALAEA and the TWU strongly contested the Company’s position to seek to negotiate new EAs for the Regional Services and Special Mission business units under the greenfields provisions of the Fair Work Act. Just before the dispute reached the stage of the Fair Work Commission arbitrating the matter, the Company finally made a sensible decision to not proceed with the greenfields approach.
- A major organisational restructure unfortunately meant the loss of a number of LAME positions via redundancy at several Cobham bases around Australia but the ALAEA played a key role in lessening the overall numbers through our ongoing representation during the consultation process.
- EA negotiations for EAs at Regional Services and Special Mission should get underway in early 2022.
The current Emirates Enterprise Agreement 2016 has passed the nominal expiry date on 31 December 2019. Due to an inferior offer, a proposed EA offer was voted down in February 2020. When the pandemic hit, the parties agreed an MOU to ensure there would be no application to the FWC by the Company to terminate the Agreement.
EA negotiations are scheduled to resume on 21 January 2022.
Eastern Australia Airlines
The current Eastern Australia Airlines Line Maintenance Aircraft Engineers Agreement 2016 passed the nominal expiry date of 31 December 2019. EA negotiations went on hold from March 2020 due to the COVID pandemic.
Negotiations have resumed in December 2021 and will continue into 2022.
The current Babcock Mission Critical Services Australasia Engineers Enterprise Agreement 2018 was varied during 2021 to allow for a 12 month extension due to the COVID pandemic. This provided a further pay increase of 2.0% from March 2021.
Negotiations for a replacement 3 year EA commenced in November 2021 and will continue into 2022.
A new interim EA for Toll Helicopters was approved by the Fair Work Commission on 26 February 2021 which provided a 3.0% pay adjustment. The Toll Helicopters Engineers Enterprise Agreement 2020 runs through to 30 June 2022.
Negotiations for a replacement EA should commence in the first half of 2022.
A shorter interim Engineers EA was approved by the Fair Work Commission on 6 May 2021 and provided for a previous bonus payment of $3500 to be rolled into salary and a 1.75% pay increase. The EA runs through to 30 June 2022.
The parties expect to commence negotiations for a replacement EA in the first quarter of 2022.
After lengthy negotiations, the new RFDS (South Eastern Section) (Mascot) Engineers Enterprise Agreement 2021 was approved by the Fair Work Commission on 31 May 2021.The EA provided for 2.0% pay increases from January 2020, 2021 and 2022.
Northern NSW Helicopter Rescue Service (T/A Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service)
The current Northern NSW Helicopter Rescue Service Limited Engineering Enterprise Agreement No 1 will expire on 26 July 2022.
The parties are scheduled to commence negotiations for a replacement EA in the first quarter of 2022.
Negotiations for a new EA went on hold due to the significant impact the COVID pandemic had on Cathay’s operations.
EA negotiations should occur sometime during 2022.
The current United Airlines Maintenance Staff Enterprise Agreement 7 has passed the nominal expiry date of 1 July 2019.Negotiations for a replacement EA went on hold in March 2020 due to the COVID pandemic impacts.
Negotiations should resume at some point in 2022.
The ALAEA has participated in the Workplace Relations Group consultative forum regarding organisational restructures that have impacted our AWI members.
After many years as one of the largest helicopter companies operating in Australia, 2021 saw the final LAME and pilot redundancies occur at Bristow Helicopters in April – subsequently the Fair Work Commission terminated the Bristow Engineers Agreement in August.
As well as member assistance to those working in the above companies, during 2021 the ALAEA has also provided assistance and representation to members at a diverse range of other aviation companies including Northrop Grumman, Execujet, Skytrans Aviation, Sharp Aviation, Regalair, MAG Aerospace, Coulson Aviation and RFDS WA.
Glynn Sowter- ALAEA Industrial Officer
Glynn provides invaluable advice for other ALAEA industrial staff and a broad cross section of the membership, ALAEA Executives and Reps alike. His is progressing well into his Law Degree with HD average and has proven his legal acumen on many occasions. We are all grateful for his hard work and discerning industrial knowledge.
- A shocking unfair dismissal of a Qantas TSS member – this has been heard now, but closing submissions currently being made.
- Multiple Qantas superannuation and standdown related payment errors.
- Various disciplinary matters.
- TSS EA negotiation meetings to commence in 2022.
- Cairns Underpayment issues.
- Cairns EA negotiations ongoing.
- Bankstown EA completed.
- Underpayment issues.
- Matter evolving concerning PHI not paying or accruing annual leave for Broome based FIFO LAMEs.
- Karratha EA negotiations on going.
- Broome EA negotiations ongoing.
- Mackay EA complete.
- Darwin completed.
- Various disciplinary matters.
- Oakey Maintenance Error Investigations.
- Oakey EA negotiations ongoing.
- Darwin EA completed.
General DASA and licensing advice to members employed in defence industry.
Sean Morgan- ALAEA Solicitor
Sean has had an exhaustive workload this year. We are extremely fortunate to have Sean provide us with impeccable legal advice. He is a man of tremendous principle, outstanding work ethic (at times, to the detriment of his personal welfare) and a brilliant understanding of legal matters that affect our industry. Through Sean’s contacts in the legal fraternity, we have been afforded the opportunity to utilise the extraordinary skillset of Barrister Lucy Saunders. Lucy is a marvel to observe in the court room. Thank you to Lucy for the amazing way in which you have represented our members in numerous proceedings this year. As Sean says, ‘your slice and dice technique is second to none’.
- QF Magnificent 20 Underpayments (FCCA).
- QF Stand Down Appeal (FCA).
- QantasLink Bullying Application (FWC).
- REX Bullying Application (FWC).
- Pelair Unfair Dismissal (FWC).
- Cobham Greenfields Dispute (FWC).
- Kareela Aviation AOGSA Breaches (FCCA).
- Sydney Seaplanes Underpayments (NSWLC).
- Virgin Privacy Dispute (FCA).
- QF Demotion/Regrade Case (FCCA/FCA).
Significant Other Matters
- FedEx EBA.
- Heston Stand Downs and Redundancies.
- Panasonic Stand Downs and Redundancies.
- Pacific Air Express Insolvency.
- QF Payroll Errors / LAME pay audits.
Steve Re- ALAEA Technical Officer and Trustee
Upholding and promoting aircraft maintenance standards at the regulatory level is integral to our role at the ALAEA plays in aviation safety. Steve Re is a leading force with his unparalleled knowledge and expertise in this field. Below Steve explains some of the matters he is dealing with.
Part 66 consultation
- Ongoing participation in CASA Technical Working Group to review and advise on Part 66 licences and MOS amendments including proposed licence privileges changes to downgrade B2 scope.
- Introduction of the self-study pathway for licencing.
- Still working with CASA and industry to find solutions to Type Training and ratings for Helicopters reclassified as “Large” after Part 66 introduction.
Part 43 discussions
- Held discussions with multiple industry representatives regarding the proposed reduction in General Aviation maintenance standards, LAME training and removal of licences.
Maintenance Error Investigations
- Assisting the Industrial/Legal Team with disciplinary matters involving maintenance errors/incidents.
- Advising members following maintenance errors and providing advice on the technical aspects of maintenance error reduction.
Member licence issues
- Worked with various members and CASA to solve licence issues.
- Assisting members with rejected Trans-Tasman Mutual Recognition (TTMRA) applications.
Aeroskills training reviews and consultation
- Reviewing and making recommendations on changes to the underpinning training for AME’s/LAME’s via the Aeroskills Industry References Committee.
General Aviation Senate enquiry submission
Submission for the Australian Senate enquiry into Civil Aviation legislation and its effect on GA finalised and lodged in September. We are now providing additional documentation evidence to the Senate committee to substantiate our claims.
Employment Website development
Creation of a dedicated Australian based website designed to provide a no/low cost option for aviation employers to advertise job opportunities to benefit the entire industry.
Often overlooked is the work done by the ALAEA on the global arena. Chris Burleigh our General Aviation and Non-Qantas Aligned Airlines Councillor, puts in countless hours and long nights working with our affiliate organisation Aircraft Engineers International (AEI) to keep abreast of international developments and fighting the good fight to maintain the highest possible standards in aircraft maintenance. So too Steve Purvinas works closely with our affiliate organisation, the International Transport Workers Federation (ITF) to monitor and effect change for aviation workers and passengers through ICAO and the ILO (International Labour Organisation).
Membership (Front Desk) Deb and Erin
Deb and Erin at the front desk have endured a lot over the last few years with an ever increasing workload. In these very trying times of COVID and standdowns they have been councillors for those needing a listening ear, they have put up with some who forgot their manners and they have professionally triaged a myriad of daily crises. A big thank you, Erin and Deb!
Keep us Informed
A reminder to all members that if you have recently changed employers, address, email, updated a credit card or changed your mobile could you please notify the office to ensure our Membership records are kept up to date.
I would also like to remind members that there is currently a noticeable attempt by employers across the country to use industrial laws and company polices to terminate LAME’s. I urge you to be aware of your obligations and responsibilities as a LAME and employee. At the first sign of anything untoward it is critical you contact your ALAEA representative or the ALAEA office. Too many times people think they will be ok and have a conversation with a manager or write a statement, which can later prove to be irrecoverable.
There is no doubt the number of skilled and experienced LAME’s is diminishing not only in Australia but throughout the world. In the year ahead your ALAEA Executive will be focusing on strategies to maintain the professional standards of our craft and securing opportunities for AME’s to become LAME’s.
I would also like to personally thank the ALAEA Executive for their support and dedication and importantly my wife and daughters who have been very accommodating in what has been an incredibly challenging period as President.
In a year when celebrations were few, but achievements many, take the time to appreciate what you have, acknowledge the positives of what has been a turbulent year and raise a glass to loved ones, friends and colleagues, especially those who we have lost.
Just a quick note that the ALAEA Sydney office will be closed for phone service between Christmas and New Year’s Day. The office will re-open on Tuesday 4th January 2022. The ALAEA@alaea.asn.au email address will be monitored and requests requiring immediate attention will be actioned. For urgent matters call the office number and an emergency contact detail will be supplied.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year
ALAEA Federal President