Wed, Nov 23, 2011
Learned Couriers May Have Been Booked To Deliver Lockout
Notices Prior To Announcement
The Australian and International Pilot's Association, which
represents pilots flying for Qantas, is calling for a government
inquiry into the grounding of all Qantas flights October 29th after
it says it learned that the airline's management had made
arrangements to deliver lockout notices days before it says the
decision was made.
Qantas CEO Alan Joyce had told the Australian Senate that he
made the decision to lock out employees on October 29th, the same
day as the grounding occurred. But the French news service AFP
reports that AIPA vice president Richard Woodward said Joyce made
plans to deliver the notices in advance, indicated that the
"surprise" move was pre-planned.
The Australian Broadcasting Corporation aired a report in which
some couriers said they were told several days before the lockout
that a one-day job would be available if they wanted to work on
Sunday. The couriers said it wasn't couched as the possibility of
working on Sunday, but that the work "delivering letters" would
definitely be available.
Joyce says the company did make contingency plans, but no actual
decision to ground the airline was made until it actually happened.
Woodward says the the allegations may mean Joyce "lied to the
Australian people and ... under oath to a Senate inquiry." He is
calling for a judicial inquiry with the powers of a royal
commission to "uncover the truth."
Qantas has been locked in a bitter dispute with its unions which
was sent to arbitration Monday, a move the union called
"disappointing." Captain Woodward said in a statement that although
pilots believed a negotiated outcome was possible, management has
"instead chosen the drawn-out process of arbitration."
“Pilots know we have a very strong case to bring to
arbitration and we’re confident of getting a good result
there," Woodward said. "However, it is a pity that Qantas as an
airline will have to be subjected to this long, drawn-out process,
when a negotiated outcome was possible. Qantas pilots simply want
to operate Qantas flights. That’s why we’re in this
dispute and that’s what we will continue to fight for. This
isn’t about pay and it isn’t about conditions –
it’s about retaining the skills and experience of Qantas
pilots in Australia."
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