Qantas decision to offshore 747 maintenance short sighted and lazy

Tuesday 21st January 2014 0:00

Qantas' decision to cease maintenance of its Boeing 747 aircraft in Australia is short sighted, lazy and unnecessary, according to The Australian Workers' Union.

Qantas intends to seek offshore maintenance of its 747s, after the 300 workers who performed the work at its Avalon facility were sacked last year. However AWU National Vice President Daniel Walton said numerous options exist for Qantas to keep the maintenance work in Australia.

“Even given Qantas’ intention to move 747 maintenance out of Avalon, the company has a range of options to keep that work in Australia,” Mr Walton said.

"Maintenance facilities in both Sydney and Brisbane have the available slots to perform this work in Australia at a world class standard, as it has always been done. We have engineers in this country with the skills to keep doing this job and doing it well.

"Australian engineers have been performing maintenance on these aircraft since Qantas’ first 747 went into operation in 1971. We understand Qantas needs to compete in a tough environment, but this particular decision is completely unjustifiable, because so many options exist to avoid it.

"Today's decision is simply a case of lazy management. Instead of working with Australian operations to slot 747 maintenance into existing facilities, they have simply pulled the offshoring ripcord."

Mr Walton noted that the decision sits uneasily with Qantas management's current campaign for government assistance.

"Qantas is busy making the case to the Australian government and the Australian people that it deserves a hand because it contributes to the national interests. We fully agree with their case in principle, but they have to start showing the nation a bit of good faith here," Mr Walton said.

"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. Instead they have simply reached for the 'offshore' button. It's sloppy and shows no regard for the 300 workers whose left on the scrap heap last year.

“If Qantas management is trying to convince Australians they deserve a helping hand, they might want to try meeting Australians halfway when it comes to acting like a responsible corporate citizen."