Before the two topics of this notice are addressed we just wanted to make members aware that a survey (via survey monkey) has been distributed seeking your input in relation to the next LAME Enterprise Agreement. Negotiations for the new agreement will kick off later this year. If you haven’t received the link to the survey check your junk mail box; it may have landed there instead.
There appears to be a growing practice by persons booking duty travel tickets for LAMEs to not book the LAME their entitled confirmed space business class seat. This, in most cases, is a breach of the Enterprise Agreement. Clause 38 of the Enterprise Agreement defines the only two circumstances where a LAME may be required to travel economy. They are –
38.1.1 – “Last minute” requirement to have a LAME accompany a Domestic flight (eg. MEL maintenance procedures); or
38.1.2 – Charters for VIPs.
In the case of domestic duty travel, the company can offer you an economy ticket but you do not have to accept. You can sit and wait on your appropriate pay rate for them to provide you your entitled Business class seat.
On international duty travel, the company cannot even offer you the option to travel in any class lower than Business class. If you accept an economy ticket internationally the company (and technically you) are in breach of the terms of the Enterprise Agreement. The only exception to this are charter flights which includes BBJ work.
We recommend any member told at an airport that their seat has been downgraded to immediately contact the ALAEA office or, if out of hours, use the ALAEA app so advice can be given without delay. We need members to start saying no to these increasingly common occurrences before economy becomes the normal means of travel booked by the airline.
We have had some dialogue with Qantas about the payments LAMEs should be getting when they undertake Higher Duties as Ops Managers and MACs. These roles nominally include functions over and above that encompassed by the LAME pay rates set out in the Enterprise Agreement. LAMEs undertaking Ops Manager and MAC roles should be paid more and we have posed the “how much” question to management on a number of occasions.
However, getting a straight answer from management has proven more difficult than carving concrete with a butter knife. Under Sandra, some people were back paid an unspecified amount based on their existing pay level. Others (level 17 LAMEs) were paid nothing; giving us the impression that the Ops Manager position is therefore paid less than a level 17 LAME. The latest position put by the new management team (Paul Cramer) is –
“When an individual is asked to perform higher duties, any allowance payable is discussed with that individual prior to them agreeing to perform the additional tasks. We do not propose to provide any further information regarding this discretionary allowance, nor will the Company be providing executive salary framework information. If any individual has concerns about the allowance being offered to them I ask that you let me know so we can discuss this with the individual, and a representative from the ALAEA if requested.”
This response from Paul is not in the form of words he would normally use and appears to have been put together by a lawyer. This concept of a “discussion with individuals” before commencing an offered role is designed to pressure individuals to do higher duty work for free. The people behind these words are acutely aware that those wanting to progress to management levels will be very reluctant to question a salary level. The message from management is clear – if you start standing up as an individual, we will find another sucker who will do the job instead.
As members we need to start sticking together on these matters before all our integrity is lost and our rights are taken away.
From this day forward, until a satisfactory arrangement is negotiated and agreed between Qantas and the ALAEA, members offered secondments or Higher Duty as either an Ops Manager or MAC should contact the ALAEA who will represent you in the negotiation of an appropriate rate before you commence the role.
Those who go it alone should expect to be paid nothing and be questioned by fellow members for their actions.