Cabin crews frustrated as many staff still grounded in some states
Posted On April 19, 2022
Several Australian airline staff have been left feeling abandoned by their employer as more than 50 per cent of cabin crew in some states remain grounded.
International flight attendants working for Qantas said they have been left without shifts while the airline brings in employees from overseas.
Across some states, data reveals half of Australian-based airline staff have been placed on standby rosters.
“At Qantas at the moment, the majority of the Brisbane-based crew is on what we call a reserve roster,” one Qantas cabin crew member said.
“So within that timeframe we get put onto standby shifts where we can literally be called with 90 minutes notice to be at the airport to go on a trip anywhere.
“I’m just sitting at home waiting for my phone to ring to go to work and not getting a phone call.”
The attendant said after a fraught two years for the airline industry during the pandemic, several staff members were looking forward to finally going back to work.
“It was exciting to know we were going back to work and don the uniform we’re so proud to wear and start doing the job we love doing and for many of us we’ve been doing for decades,” he said.
“Once upon a time I thought the company actually liked us, but now I just feel I am absolutely a disposable item.”
Flights like Qantas’ Brisbane to Los Angeles route are now staffed by employees from its New Zealand base.
“Unfortunately that aircraft was never used in long range flights,” Teri O’Toole from the Flight Attendants Association of Australia said.
“Qantas have decided that rather than give people an extra day to recover, they will use New Zealand-based crew.”
In a statement, a Qantas spokesperson said the switch to New Zealand based staff was owing to disagreements with the FAAA.
“A small amount of flying is being operated by New Zealand based crew because the union was not prepared to support Australian based crew working on longer routes with some of our A330 aircraft, including Brisbane to Los Angeles, on terms that we were able to agree to,” the spokesperson said.
“It was our strong preference that our Australian-based crew do this flying, but we have instead had to use New Zealand based crew on some of these flights.”
Qantas said while the international and domestic travel industry is slowly improving, demand for international travel is still significantly below pre-pandemic levels.
Terrorist arrested for something different 30 minutes after bombing
Ms O’Toole said more was needed to get cabin crew back in the air.
“There was over $2 billion dollars in taxpayer money given to Qantas to retain their staff over the lockdown,” she said.
“Here they are, ready to go to work, sitting, waiting and you’ve got more than 50 per cent of them sitting up in Brisbane on standby.”
The Qantas employee said he’s spent two years waiting to go back to work, with many other colleagues struggling to stay afloat.
“Long term, you can’t live basically treading water,” he said.
“And financially, it’s crippling for a lot of people as well.”