By Michelle Thomas and Jin Kok
Qantas pilots are threatening to join their engineering counterparts who will go on strike tomorrow in protest of the lack of job security within the company.
About 1,600 Qantas engineers from Australian Licensed Aircraft Engineers Union will strike for one hour tomorrow and again on Monday over the transfer of most aircraft maintenance offshore.
President of the Australian International Pilots Association Barry Jackson says the airline that sports the ‘flying kangaroo’ has a duty to employ Australian pilots who are currently only a second choice.
“What’s happening now… is that a lot of our experienced pilots are sitting around, doing nothing while they’re putting inexperienced pilots, pilots with as little as 180 hours, into airplanes,” he said.
He says since Qantas was privatised in 1992 there has been a shift in jobs away from Australian workers and the move has shattered pilots’ job security.
“We’re concerned that if this trend continues, there will no jobs for Australians ever again, in fact right now, there is no compunction for Qantas to ever employ an Australian pilot ever again,” he said.
Mr Jackson says pilots may join their engineering colleagues in taking industrial action.
“I can’t rule out anything at this stage, I like to think that we can come up with a win-win situation to whether our pilots could become more utilised, more efficient in exchange for some form of access to the growth which is what the Qantas crew is doing,” he said.
QUT Avionics Engineering student Matt Grainger says finding a job in the industry in Australia is concerning.
“Yeah, I am a little bit concerned about finding these jobs, but ultimately it will come down to how much you want it,” he said.
Australia’s largest airline, Qantas, is hoping the industrial action can be avoided.
Qantas didn’t return calls today for comment on the issue, but in a statement said it was continuing to negotiate with its pilots and engineers.