'Try again next year': FWA decision highlights futility and destructiveness of Joyce’s industrial war

'Try again next year': FWA decision highlights futility and destructiveness of Joyce’s industrial war

Today’s determination, handed down by Fair Work Australia, on the industrial dispute between Qantas pilots and management, shows how futile CEO Alan Joyce’s strategy of all-out industrial war has been for the airline and the national interest, with FWA rejecting management’s argument that the enterprise agreement was outdated and allowing negotiations for a new agreement to begin as early as next year.

The FWA determination has kept the bulk of the EA intact, with the 2014 date set for renegotiation a rebuke to Mr Joyce’s hyper-aggressive approach to industrial bargaining.

“We know that Qantas’s PR department will be out there attempting to spin this as some sort of win for Alan Joyce and his militant strategy, but the fact is that Fair Work Australia has basically told everyone to go back to the drawing board and start again next year,” Australian and International Pilots Association (AIPA) Acting President Nathan Safe said.

“Pilots were prepared to offer significant productivity gains, but because management was unprepared to have meaningful negotiations, these have fallen by the wayside. Management’s claim that the current agreement is an outdated legacy EA has been completely rejected.

“Yet thanks to the approach of this current management, everyone has been forced to punch themselves out, nobody got a result, and we’re now scheduled to do it all again next year. Fair Work Australia has basically told management that they will have to have a better go at bargaining properly next year.

“There have been no winners out of this debacle, and the biggest loser has been the Flying Kangaroo. We hope that management doesn’t believe their own spin, and instead reflects on this result and considers how much more could have been achieved through a constructive approach.

“The commissioners have essentially crystallised the destructiveness and folly of Mr Joyce's strategy. It should never have got to this point.

“Qantas, the pinnacle of Australian pilot careers for 90 years, has been dragged through the mud by an unnecessarily militant and obsessive campaign from this current management.

“The entirely avoidable industrial battle and the subsequent grounding, which left tens of thousands stranded across the world and bruised Australia’s reputation, was a disaster. The irony is that the interests of Qantas pilots and Qantas management should be aligned: to strengthen the Flying Kangaroo for the future.

“AIPA is proud of the campaign we fought, which did not disrupt a single passenger. We will continue to fight for the right of Qantas pilots to do what they have done for generations: upholding the safety and reliability record of this great Australian icon.”