Airport workers in national protest over poor working conditions


Union members marched at all major Australian airports today, rallying against poor working conditions. Protestors say reduced hours, low pay and split shifts are affecting aviation security.

Laura Lavelle reports.

TRANSCRIPT

Current and former workers banded together today to say enough is enough.

Protestors chanting: “What’s outrageous? Airport wages!”

Behind the airport’s shiny exterior, employees say poor working conditions are affecting their health and their families.

Adam Carter, Transport Workers Union: “We’re here today because airlines are turning a blind eye to what’s happening in their supply chains. A blind eye to low wages, a blind eye to risk and safety.”

Protestors say rather than travelling home between lower-paid split shifts, workers sleep at Brisbane Airport because travel is too expensive.

Richard O’Sullivan, Airport worker: “Obviously they’re never at home. If you have a wife and kids you are either travelling to work or at work. But you’re only getting paid for eight hours.”

With construction of the new runway well underway, the union is calling on airport management to take responsibility for staff.

Adam Carter, Transport Workers Union: “They do have the power to make a difference. Airport corporations can set standards.”

Brisbane airport management estimates the new runway will generate up to 8000 new jobs.

But the Union is concerned very few will be permanent positions; most being filled with casual staff.

It’s cost-cutting that could prove costly.

Adam Carter, Transport Workers Union: “Every time a plane takes off and lands, it’s like a cash register going off.”

Laura Lavelle, QUT News.