Tony Lowery, head of maintenance operations at Qantas, confirmed this in a letter to Stephen Purvinas, federal secretary of Australian Licenced Aircraft Engineers Association (ALAEA).
“This is not a decision which has been made lightly. I remain absolutely committed to ensuring that Qantas Engineering remains competitive, which in the current environment in particular, requires my focus on improving the productivity and efficiency of Qantas Engineering operations, which will in turn contribute to the overall profitability of Qantas,” he said in a statement.
Lowery added that moving the maintenance to an existing Qantas facility would be “unproductive and inefficient”.
Purvinas stated that the ALAEA feel cheated by Qantas negotiators. He added that the aircraft would now be sent to a facility in Hong Kong, which in the past had to send back an aircraft to the Avalon facility due to not having the technical abilities to repair it.
According to Purvinas, the ALAEA had offered a 25% reduction in take home wages to keep work in Australia, but Qantas rejected the offer.
“Now all avenues of employment appear to have been cut off for these soon to be unemployed, highly qualified professionals,” he said.
Union officials have also slammed the action. Daniel Walton, national vice president of the Australian Workers’ Union, stated the decision doesn’t bode well with the organisation’s current campaign for government assistance, The Sydney Morning Herald reported.
“Here they had a golden opportunity to show they were prepared to sit down and work through a solution that was good for business and good for Australian workers,” Walton said. “Instead they have simply reached for the ‘offshore’ button. It’s sloppy and shows no regard for the 300 workers left on the scrap heap [at Avalon] last year.”
What do you think of Qantas’ decision?
Qantas has confirmed the maintenance of an aircraft previously scheduled for work at its now defunct Avalon facility will be sent offshore. This has dashed hopes the task would be shifted to a Brisbane facility, creating jobs for some of the 307 engineering staff now made redundant.