At 5pm today (25 March 2020) thousands of Qantas workers and many union members are going to be stood down.
Many more will find out their fate over the coming weeks as the COVID-19 crisis intensifies.
This is a difficult time for our country and the aviation sector – but you are not alone.
We are with you.
Since last Friday, this crisis has continued to intensify. State borders have closed and it is expected that domestic flights will continue to be slashed.
There's no mistaking it – the weeks and months ahead are going to be very tough throughout Australia and the world.
The Alliance Unions will provide you with all the information you need, clearly and quickly. We will be there to support you, answer any questions you have and take up any issues with Qantas management on your behalf.
We will be seeking answers from Qantas to many unanswered questions that still remain about this stand down. We will be calling on the Federal Government to step in and provide wage subsidies so we can get through this crisis and out the other side with our jobs intact.
What happens next?
It was hoped that a detailed breakdown of the entire stand down process would be provided to you today.
But, once again at yesterday's Alliance meeting Qantas failed to provide any specific details or numbers about the exact nature of what is happening. We will continue to press for these answers.
It's frustrating and insulting that hard working Qantas members are being treated like this – and we share your understandable anger.
This is a frightening time for thousands of Qantas workers and their families and you deserve better.
Other questions and issues Qantas must address urgently
· Public holiday (PH) payments – Qantas must explain whether workers that are stood down over public holidays get their normal Public Holiday payments.
· Sick leave access – Qantas must inform the Alliance how employees will access sick leave. Will employees on either annual or long service leave payments be able to access sick leave if they become ill including contracting COVID-19, upon the submission of a medical certificate? The Alliance maintains that sick leave must be paid in replacement of any other leave during the period of sickness.
· Apprentice work – The Alliance is arguing that apprentices should be maintained at work and not stood down. Standing down apprentices will have an enormous impact their progress and significantly affect their career progression in the long term.
· Rotations –We will be pushing for a fair and equitable rotation scheme for as many workers as possible.
Notifications from Qantas
Qantas has informed the Alliance that it will be notifying staff via a number of means (text, email and workday) from 5pm today, 25 March 2020. Members should also expect leadership briefings and tool box meetings.
This process will affect approximately 50% of the main line engineering workforce. Qantas has also stated that maintenance work will continue for approximately 10 days, after which further stand downs will occur.
Brisbane Heavy Maintenance will undergo a four week stand down period from 30 March to April 5. Half of employees (Qantas FTEs) will be stood down for two weeks, with the other half working on day shifts. After two weeks the crews will swap. Utilities (Qantas FTEs) will remain at work for four weeks. Qantas will start notifying staff this week about the 4 week stand down period ahead.
Other notifications from the company may be coming subject to any announcements and updates made to the ASX relating to the performance of the domestic business.
The AMWU is with you – we won’t give up.
This is a tough time for Australians and their families.
We understand that there will be many concerns about making ends meet. We know that annual leave, going into debit and accessing long service leave will only last so long and while there are welfare payments available, this will not be enough to get working people through this crisis.
Your union and the entire labour movement will continue to push the Federal Government and Scott Morrison to stand up.
Australia urgently needs wage subsidies to keep people in work across the board and any public money provided to Qantas must reach workers, not shareholders and management.
You are part of a highly skilled workforce that has given so much to Qantas for so many years and it's vital you are supported through this by Qantas and the Government
How to reach out for support and information – update your information
This is a crucial time and we want to hear from you with any issues you are facing.
We also want to keep you updated as this is a very fluid situation.
To keep you informed we need your up to date contact information - email and phone - so we can keep in touch.
Contact us here to update your details if needed, or you can call the AMWU Helpdesk on 1300 732 698.
We also urge you to join the closed Facebook Alliance group where you can contact us directly and we will be monitoring continuously.
If any of your workmates who are members of the AMWU have not received this email, please share it with them and encourage them to update their details with the union.
AMWU members and their families can also access our free 24/7 phone counselling service if you need to talk to a trained counsellor in this stressful time – call 1800 206 316.
Please reach out to your delegates and organisers if you need anything.
We are all in this together.
AMWU National Secretary