*** MEDIA RELEASE ***
AIRPORT WORKERS PROTEST AS REPORT WARNS SAFETY & SECURITY AT RISK
October 2, 2018
Workers will protest today at all main airports over poor pay and conditions as a report shows low standards are impacting on aviation safety and security. Protests will also take place around the world as part of a global day of action by airport workers.
Times and locations of the protests are:
Sydney 9:30am, international terminal arrivals
Melbourne, 11:00am, Virgin domestic arrivals
Brisbane 11:00am, domestic terminal between Qantas & Virgin
Adelaide: 10.30am, airport main entrance
Perth 10:00am, domestic terminal
Protesters will demand an end to forced part-time hours that see workers rostered to work as few as three hours a day and just 60 hours a month. Coupled with this, low pay and split shifts are forcing some workers to sleep at airports.
A TWU report to the Productivity Commission inquiry on airport regulation links the poor conditions to safety and security breaches. The report calls on the Federal Government to mandate that airports and airlines take responsibility for labour standards in their supply chains.
“Airports and airlines are engaged in a public war of words over who is ‘gouging’ from who, but it is airport workers which are the real losers. Beyond the shiny facades of our airports and outside the slick airline lounges, workers are struggling to pay bills and are even forced to sleep at work. High staff turnover rates and poor conditions are impacting on safety, security and services. Airports and airlines at the top of the supply chain are highly profitable and they must be held to account for this,” said TWU National Secretary Michael Kaine.
The TWU report shows some aviation companies have almost their entire workforce on part-time hours. At the same time profits for the main airports were over $2 billion in 2016-17, while Qantas Group made profits of $1.6 billion and Emirates Group, which operates a ground handling company as well as an airline, made profits of $1.5 billion.
Glaring examples show the impact on safety and security. High turnover means staff without full security clearances are accessing secure areas of the airports; in Sydney airport there were 132 injuries among a staff of 324 over a one-year period; in Perth airport an Aerocare baggage handler forced to unload an aircraft alone allowed passengers onto secure airside to collect their own baggage. Overseas Jetstar cabin crew are working domestic routes with no training on how to board domestic aircraft and base pay as low as $100 per week.
The report also shows airports and airlines outsource much of their work to companies without any required labour standards. Airports choose to take responsibility for workers when it suits them. When media exposed the bedding area where airports workers were forced to sleep between split shifts, the area was cleaned up the next day.
“Billions of dollars in public money are being poured in to building airports and there should be a better dividend for the community than what is currently happening. Billions of dollars are also being poured into trying to make our airports more secure while poor labour standards are clearly affecting safety and security. The Federal Government must put a stop to the race to the bottom in aviation. The consequences of not doing so not only means poverty wages for future generations of airport workers but also potentially devastating consequences if a catastrophic incident were to take place,” Kaine added.
Click here for a link to the report: http://www.twu.com.au/race_to_the_bottom_in_aviation/
Sydney: Pippa Hatton 0418982257; Colin Henderson 0405625208
Melbourne: Jason Gregory 0430931494
Brisbane: Tom Millroy 0411875910
Perth: Eloyise Braskic 0499937644
Adelaide: Kate Fennell 0417 607 756