QantasLink will soon join Jetstar, Qantas, Network and VARA members in relation to protected industrial action. Members are seeking updates constantly from Reps. We are not issuing updates for a good reason. To do so would damage our prospects. We are targeting fair wage increases. We follow set processes to that end. There are many rumours circulating. They should all be ignored.
The reason we maintain silence is best explained with some examples. Recently at both Qantas and VARA, we have encountered what follows. Without ALAEA input, individuals or small groups approached (or been approached by) lower-level management to discuss EA related matters. In one case, a pay structure was proposed that was unknown to us. Each time this occurs, the airline is given a choice between what the ALAEA proposes and what individuals propose. In all instances, the non ALAEA led approach has been less that what we are seeking. From there, lower-level managers make promises to senior management to avoid our claims. Added to this are other unions seeming to support rosters that we oppose. These undermining acts harm and delay our work, but we are confident good outcomes will come if we maintain solidarity.
Another issue relates to information spread. In a hypothetical scenario, if word was spread that a 10% wage increase was on the table, members may discuss this as a good potential outcome. The talk would filter back to management and the offer would drop to 8%. This is a high stakes game of poker we are playing. We do not want to show them our cards. If you are approached by management, give them nothing. Tell them to talk to the ALAEA because we stand as one.
Our industrial approach at all airlines has been or will be the same. We have a token one-minute stoppage to activate the process. The airlines then understand we can strike at any time after giving the requisite notice. At this stage they take our claims seriously. For each airline, two months are provided for them to present reasonable offers. If none are presented, our harder hitting protected industrial action will be deployed. This may not occur immediately after the two-month grace period. Maintaining a surprise approach is best. If we feel negotiations are advancing, the airlines may be given more time. So far all is going to plan.
Members at VARA should be aware of a position the ALAEA has taken. VARA may attempt to make an offer directly to the workforce that is not ALAEA approved. If it is not ALAEA approved, this means it is well short of our expectations. We told VARA that any attempt to directly run another substandard offer will see us withdraw our two-month grace period. Notice will be given immediately, and actions will be increased. The VARA process is a month or so behind three other Qantas group airlines. They would be well advised to sit tight and match Qantas deals. This notice will be provided to them for clarity.
We expect Jetstar, Qantas and Network settlement, or further action, to occur concurrently. It is no coincidence that our timing aligns. These airlines created the advantage for us by delaying for so long. QantasLink is several months behind. We are confident that any precedent set at other parts of the Qantas group will flow through.
The ALAEA has a good sense of member expectations. These things were set some time ago through member surveys and general Rep feedback. Issues around timing and backpay are also known. If any worthy offers are made, they will be presented to our Executive first, then members will be notified. Meetings will occur and the final decision will be yours. Until then, anything you hear is speculation.