Qantas Group is choosing to pay contractors more than double what they’re paying their own aircraft maintenance staff in Tamworth, with the Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union NSW & ACT branch (AMWU) calling on the company to get back to the bargaining table with a fair wage offer for workers.
QantasLink Tamworth aircraft maintenance workers are currently the lowest paid in the industry. The Qantas Group employees have been negotiating with the company since September 2022, seeking a fair deal that brings them in line with their industry peers.
Qantas has refused to move beyond the Group’s current wages policy of a two-year wage freeze and subsequent wage increases of 3% per year over four years, despite QantasLink Tamworth workers struggling to pay their bills. Qantas says there’s no room to move on wages, but contractors on site are being paid $60 per hour in addition to being supplied with accommodation.
The money for workers is clearly there, Qantas just doesn’t want it flowing to its direct employees. Now the workers are demanding fair compensation as the cost of living continues to rise, and the union is behind them all the way.
Quotes attributable to Robyn Fortescue, Assistant State Secretary AMWU NSW & ACT
“Qantas has the opportunity to do the right thing here and treat its workers fairly. They’re asking to have their wages lifted by approximately $10 an hour to bring them in line with an industry average of $40 per hour for experienced aircraft maintenance engineers, followed by increases of 3% as per Qantas Group’s policy.
“QantasLink Tamworth workers are struggling to get by in this cost-of-living crisis, while Qantas Group recorded a $2.47 billion profit in this financial year and will spend millions on a payout to its former CEO. The money is clearly there, but Qantas won’t spend it on its employees.
“Qantas Group has chosen to pay labour hire companies to boost its Tamworth workforce and is paying these contractors double what it pays directly hired employees. The company could have a stable workforce in Tamworth if it paid direct hires fairly and treated them with respect.
“AMWU members have already foregone Qantas Group’s 2022 $5,000 ‘recovery boost’ bonus that was contingent on employees agreeing to the company’s ‘wage-freeze’ enterprise agreement by April 2023. Members maintain they have been undervalued for too long and need real wage growth, not a company carrot being dangled in-front of them. They have already engaged in protected industrial action and are prepared to take part in further actions as needed.”