Qantas seeks termination of crew agreement to change rostering processes

©Qantas

Qantas International has applied to the Fair Work Commission to terminate its long-haul cabin crew agreement as a last resort to change restrictive and outdated rostering processes. There are no job losses associated with the proposed termination.

This is the first time in Qantas’ history that it has sought to terminate an enterprise agreement. It follows six months of negotiation with the Flight Attendants’ Association of Australia (FAAA) and other bargaining representatives for a new enterprise agreement that was rejected by both the union and 97% of crew who voted.

The rejected four-year deal included a pay increase and increased allowances. It also sought to simplify complex and historical rostering conditions that meant around 20% of more than 2,500 long-haul crew could only be used on a single type of aircraft – which is unworkable as the airline seeks to recover from COVID.

The need for change to rostering processes was recognized by the Fair Work Commission in an earlier decision relating to bargaining for the agreement. The FAAA’s counteroffer represented an AU$60 million (£32 million) cost increase over four years – which is also unworkable.

The Fair Work Commission is expected to start dealing with the termination application over the coming weeks, with Qantas requesting the hearing be expedited.

Qantas’ international flying is expected to remain at around 20% of pre-COVID levels for the next few months, increasing from April onwards as Omicron-related restrictions ease overseas.

This is the third time the FAAA and Qantas have been before the Commission regarding this round of bargaining.

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