Unions mount legal challenge to Qantas bonus threat

Today, the peak body for working people on behalf of seven unions representing workers at Qantas lodged a legal challenge to the company’s sham bonus scheme.

Qantas has withheld a bonus for all non-management staff until they sign onto a new company-endorsed employment agreement. For some people at Qantas this point is likely to be at least two years away.

Staff who leave or are made redundant during that time will be denied the bonus entirely.

Meanwhile, workers not employed on an enterprise agreement – mainly management staff – were immediately given the cash component of their bonus.

The ACTU will challenge the company’s decision on the grounds that it discriminates against workers covered by agreements, while delivering the bonus immediately to managers.

The bonus is made up of a $500 staff travel credit and a cash component of $2000 (full-time) and $1500 (part-time).

Under the previous enterprise agreements thousands of workers suffered pay freezes when the company was not doing well. Now that is has bumper profits many workers are angry they are not getting their fair share.

The ACTU and airline unions argue this bonus scheme leaves working people at Qantas feeling pressured into accepting subpar wages and conditions.

As noted by ACTU Secretary Sally McManus

“Qantas is trying to pressure people into supporting an as-yet unseen agreement in return for a bonus payment freely given to managers.

“People working at Qantas have endured pay freezes and huge staff reductions. The company has lifted its financial performance on the back of their work, yet Qantas management want to use their bonus reward as leverage instead of recognition.

“Union members at Qantas are outraged at this decision and see it as a sign of disrespect.

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