Qantas may not be flying but there is still a lot happening

Posted on May 22, 2020

Thank you to everyone who attended the Qantas BNE members' meeting this week. If you missed the meeting, you've missed a lot of updates. Here is a summary of what was discussed:

Payroll – can it get any worse?

JobKeeper has been in place for more than a month but Qantas can’t seem to solve the many, many payroll problems that members have been telling us about. ASU delegates and officials have been meeting regularly with the company to find out how they are managing payroll department. Your union met with the managers from payroll on Wednesday, 6 May and Wednesday 13 May. There is a lot of confusion and misunderstanding of pay amongst staff. They can’t reconcile pay slips and members are reporting many errors.

What we know:

  • Qantas claims that 530 people have been overpaid since JobKeeper started. This is a significant number of errors. Your union is asking the company to delay any action to reclaim the money until things are back to normal. 
  • Qantas haven't provided an exact figure of how many people have been underpaid, or how long it will take to fix this problem. Your union delegates have demanded to know the numbers and are waiting to hear back from them. Given the number of issues raised, we will not be surprised if the number of people underpaid match those “overpaid”. Your Delegates told them that they must comply with the EBA and fix underpayments within 5 working days (see Clause 33.5 of the EBA).
  • Qantas is denying that staff have had their payroll queries closed without a response but there are clear examples of this. If this is something you have experienced please let your ASU organiser, Billy, know. 

Where to lodge your payroll complaints.

Qantas has told us that the payroll mailboxes are overloaded and they cannot track the issues if they come in by email. If you have a payroll issue, you should notify the company through Sharepoint.

Click here to lodge your payroll query.  

Remember to attach any supporting evidence and keep all the correspondence you receive. Your ASU organiser will need this information to follow up any issues.

Offsetting penalty rates against JobKeeper.

As highlighted in previous bulletins, Qantas is taking advantage of the payroll cycle to offset penalty rates against JobKeeper payments. Your union does not think this complies with the law. Other unions also think this is the case.

The ASU is seeking expert legal advice from the ACTU about the legality of Qantas’s penalty rip-off. There will be an update for you soon on this and advice on what to do next. It is important that all unions work together on this issue - coordination with the ACTU is essential.

Be kind to the Payroll team.

There are concerns that the payroll area of Qantas is under-staffed, overworked and under a lot of pressure. Management sets policy and staffing levels. If something goes wrong, it’s because management hasn’t made payroll a priority. Qantas management does not think that looking after their staff is core business, and the problems that have been there all along are just exacerbated now with more people taking annual leave, getting JobKeeper or being stood down etc. 

If you’re in the payroll team, please don't hesitate to contact your organiser, Billy, by emailing airlines@together.org.au. We are here to support you.

Sick Leave on stand down.

A few weeks ago the ASU went to the Fair Work Commission about the Company’s decision not to pay sick leave to people who are stood down. This heartless decision has affected people on long term sick leave who have serious illnesses. At the same time, the Maintenance unions and the TWU also issued proceedings in the Federal Court to challenge the actions of Qantas. We have been working with these unions regarding this issue.

Unfortunately, a Federal Court judge said that Qantas could continue to not pay sick leave to people who are stood down. We understand that the unions concerned are considering an appeal, if they decide to appeal, the ASU will support them again in whatever way possible, as this is an important issue for everyone.

More Qantas legal Action.

Despite claiming that "money is tight", Qantas management are spending on appeals and lawyers. The company contested the ability of the Fair Work Commission to hear disputes about JobKeeper against another union’s members. Your union is pleased to say their appeal case was thrown out this week so unions can take disputes about JobKeeper to the Fair Work Commission.

Stand downs update

ASU delegates and officials have been consulting with the company on the next round of stand downs. In a number of areas we have been able to negotiate arrangements that suit members and we continue to try and ensure that people can share the work that is available among the maximum number of people. Your union has tried to negotiate rotations to best suit the areas concerned.

Rostering issues in airports have been identified and it has been requested that the company have full transparency about who is rostered and when. It is unfair that members cannot see the rosters and in some cases, they have no idea when they might be rostered.

The union office understands that some members will need to update their training to maximise their ability to be rostered for a range of tasks, we have also raised this issue with the company.

What’s next?

There is a lot going on and your union is aiming to keep you in the loop as often as possible. 

Your delegates have set a plan in place to continue to hold online union meetings and to keep you up to date. 

A number of ASU Qantas Group members have also taken advantage of our online courses through ASU Career Launchpad. This is an exclusive member only benefit which you should consider taking a look at. There are a wide range of topics covered both on demand and in live webinar sessions.

Contact your local organiser. 

If you require any further information please contact your organiser, Billy Colless, on airlines@together.org.au or by phone on 0419 736 886. 

These are difficult and uncertain times but as always, we are by your side.

1800 177 244
members@together.org.au