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Old 30th Apr 2012, 21:26
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Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Australia
Posts: 179
Rival unions target Qantas

Rival unions target Qantas

TENSIONS between unions representing Qantas workers have erupted into open warfare, after three unions took legal action in Fair Work Australia claiming their members were subject to poaching threats by a rival union.

The dispute has pitted Australian Workers Union national secretary Paul Howes against Steve Purvinas, the federal secretary of the Australian Licenced Aircraft Engineers Association, who rose to prominence during last year's Qantas dispute.
Mr Purvinas is resisting attempts by Qantas to have aircraft maintenance engineers, who are represented by Mr Howes along with two other unions, undertake work that does not need to be signed off by licenced engineers, who are represented by Mr Purvinas.
Qantas wants to implement rules to create an "A" work licence, with holders not required to have the same level of training and specialisation as licensed engineers.
Mr Purvinas wrote to union leaders, including Mr Howes and ACTU secretary Jeff Lawrence on Saturday, accusing rival unions of being about to "cut a deal to save their (heavy maintenance) arses". He wrote that A-licence engineers were about to be employed "at our expense".
Mr Purvinas said he would seek a commitment from Mr Howes as well as the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union "that this is our work, that these persons will be covered by the ALAEA when they attain Category A Licences and that any approach by the company to negotiate an instrument to cover their employment be referred to the ALAEA".

He said if that commitment was not made by today, membership of his union would be open to maintenance engineers "to make sure our profession is not destroyed".
In a follow-up email yesterday, Mr Purvinas wrote that if rival unions "want to destroy our industry we will have to protect our members' jobs".
The AWU, the AMWU, and the electrical trades union yesterday applied to Fair Work Australia seeking orders that the ALAEA not have the right to represent members of the three unions.
Glenn Thompson, the AMWU's assistant national secretary, last night accused Mr Purvinas and his union of targeting their members.
"They are encroaching on our traditional representation of unlicenced engineers, and it's a position we are not prepared to sit idly by and accept," he said.
"We are concerned that the ALAEA has taken a position in relation to representation of our members.
"We believe it's in the interests of Qantas workers that we represent the interests of our members.
"We say that we have a new regulatory regime and that our union has a right to cover our existing members.
"We will be having discussions with Qantas on what the regulatory requirements mean for our members and their working lives."
Mr Purvinas attacked the unions over the release of the emails, saying it showed the "union movement is in such disarray that emails can't be sent without them being splashed all over the papers".
Qantas and Mr Howes declined to comment yesterday.

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