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QF Strike threat may ground planes.

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QF Strike threat may ground planes.

Old 6th Nov 2009, 09:32
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QF Strike threat may ground planes.

Qantas strike threat may ground planes

November 6, 2009

QANTAS passengers face disruptions in coming weeks after professional engineers voted overwhelmingly in favour of industrial action for the first time in the airline's history.
The stand-off with the engineers over conditions and pay is the first real test of the relationship between Qantas' new management and its heavily unionised workforce.
Although professional engineers number only about 130 at Qantas, they are a crucial part of the engineering workforce because they must sign off on any significant maintenance work before aircraft are allowed to fly. Strike action could force Qantas to ground aircraft.
Members of the engineers' union, the Association of Professional Engineers, Scientists and Managers, will meet today at 1pm in Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne to decide what action to take. Yesterday, 98 per cent of the professional engineers voted to take industrial action, after talks with the company over the past seven months failed to resolve their differences.
Union director Catherine Bolger said the dispute centred on the out-of-hours work required to maintain the airline's fleet and demand for pay parity with other workers. She cited occasions where, in a 24-hour period, some senior engineers had to approve maintenance tasks with less than five hours' sleep between jobs.
The engineers' enterprise bargaining agreement expired in June and in any new deal they want to bring their salary in line with other Qantas staff.
''We are calling on [Qantas' chief executive] Alan Joyce to resolve this dispute,'' Ms Bolger said. ''He has indicated that he wants to have a more constructive relationship with the workforce than was the case under his predecessor.''
Ms Bolger said the industrial action could result in the grounding of Qantas aircraft if the dispute escalated ''but that is not where we want to go''.
A Qantas spokeswoman said the airline was ''disappointed'' the union was taking action and insisted it had not walked away from the negotiating table.
‘‘If industrial action is taken by the union Qantas has contingency plans in place, which will mean there will be no disruptions to travel or aircraft,’’ she said. ‘‘ We won’t be grounding aircraft.’’
‘‘We remain disappointed that action will be taken and that 30 per cent pay increases over three years is completely unreasonable,’’ she said.
I thought 30% over 3 years was a bit rich, but then after considering what GD walked away with for less than 12 months work.... maybe the are onto something.
Ngineer is offline  
Old 6th Nov 2009, 10:16
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I'm not involved, BUT 11.5 mill (Diko's payout) devided by 130 (engineers ) = 884615.
Seens like a fair pay rise to me based on the importance to the company
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Old 6th Nov 2009, 10:47
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11,500,000 / 130 = $88,461.50 Hope the ginger beers do their maths a bit better. It's still a lot of money though.
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Old 6th Nov 2009, 11:24
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OOPS, forgot the decimal point
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Old 6th Nov 2009, 12:02
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10 yrs to late fellas!
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Old 6th Nov 2009, 18:16
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I note its the "professional" engineers who are in dispute now.Should be easy for QF and the journos to blame this on the LAME union , as well as any other labour problem that pops up over the next gazillian years.
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Old 6th Nov 2009, 20:28
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How much do these guys currently earn?
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Old 6th Nov 2009, 21:26
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How are these guys different to the LAMEs that dispatch aircraft on the line?

Or are the "professional" engineers the blokes in Maintenance Watch etc?
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Old 6th Nov 2009, 21:50
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One news article reported them as being Degree Qualified and able to sign of on non-standard maintenance or something like that, dunno how accurate that is though.
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Old 6th Nov 2009, 23:56
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These are the guys that have authority to make devaitions from the aircraft manufacturers manuals. Ie an aircraft may have been dented by a ground vehicle beyond the manufacturers limits, these guys can give an approval to get the aircraft back to a main base for repair.
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Old 7th Nov 2009, 00:30
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The guys in question are not LAMEs or AMEs. They are degree qualified aeronautical, mechanical, electrical or structural engineers. Some are issued with CAR 32 or 45 approvals to issue Engineering Authorities to approve maintenance outside of AMM limits, etc. They are office workers, Mon- Fri, and those with the CAR approvals are rostered "on call" out-of -hours to provide EA relief. As such they are not members of the ALAEA.
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Old 7th Nov 2009, 01:23
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How are these guys different to the LAMEs that dispatch aircraft on the line?

Or are the "professional" engineers the blokes in Maintenance Watch etc?
As per the previous posts, these are Professional Engineers that work in Tech Services and the like, issuing EA's and sorting through AD's, etc. They are many of the unknown faces working to keep the airline safe, but to management they are probably a bunch of unknown plebs that have no real purpose, worthy of nothing more than 3% (if they are lucky).

I am sure that the usual "contingency plans" are in place, should there be any action, so things will run like clockwork.
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Old 7th Nov 2009, 03:49
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Its CAR 35
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Old 7th Nov 2009, 07:37
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Thanks fellas...just curious
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Old 7th Nov 2009, 08:35
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They are many of the unknown faces working to keep the airline safe,
It would be in Qantas management's best interest to find a hasty resolution and avoid another long protracted dispute... Although few in numbers, the "tech services" or "professional" engineers are also the unknown faces that attempt to minimise schedule interruption... Whether it be quickly assessing skin damage beyond the manufacturers limits due to a wayward cargo loader or lightning strike damage in a ramp environment, to engineering a large corrosion repair in the hangar these guys are integral to the day to day operation of the airline...
I would be very interested to hear more details from the guys involved, and I lend my pen in support...


Last edited by Black Hands; 7th Nov 2009 at 09:56.
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Old 7th Nov 2009, 10:13
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May your pens run dry at the eleventh hour, when the car 35 signature is required. The same old story of never has so much been owed to so few by so many. Stay strong and let the lames request numerous EA requests between 2300 hrs and 0500. When GD walks with 11 mil and joyce decides he really wants an airline instead of a low cost bus service, Maybe all who wear the white rat on a red background will once again go above and beyond.
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Old 7th Nov 2009, 13:17
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Had one of my regular corporate pax shift from SYD CGK nonstop QF J class to SYD SIN CGK F class on SQ - about $200 dearer and a good option.

These threats of strikes etc have good basis, but they do damage the base you are standing on. The media doesn't help either in he way the interpret what you have said for maximum effect.

No criticism at all from here as I have no right to, but if you do not have information of the effect then you cannot evaluate what is going on.

Best all

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Old 7th Nov 2009, 20:22
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They probably do have a case if it is true, however it is also ridiculous that the people that release the aircraft for flight day in and day out (LAMEs) have no limits on their duty time.

I have always thought it crazy, the Pilots that fly the aircraft have very strict limits on their duty times, but NO limits at all on the people that certify the safety of the same aircraft.

And I don't mean like maybe having to extend a little while after a shift, I mean for example having already been working over 24 hours straight, having to continue to work and certify for an aircraft because there is nobody else there that can do so.
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Old 7th Nov 2009, 21:49
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here here air support.

the topic of lame duty times are a sore point in everyones behind.
There are no duty limits on the poor lame. I can not understand that.
Are the flight crew the only people that feel fatigued after 10 hours?
Are they the only ones with flight critical roles?
Unfortunately there are alot of engineers that don't want duty times because they need the money, companies don't want duty times as they might actually have to train or employ more engineers.
Engineers usually have to work at wierd hours, sometimes long hours and my favorite be on call so that they can come in at short notice and fix a broken a/c.
Our numbers across the planet are relatively small and ageing. I mean the last ime I looked at the CASA web site the average age was 55.
Even with the modern fleet that airlines have today at least (majors) don't want to get into the GA side right now, we still need more and more qualified and experienced certifiers, do we not?
Duty times for engineers are a valid topic albiet a not so favourable one for many people out there.
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Old 7th Nov 2009, 23:14
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Firstly, every airline has an obligation to its employee's called 'duty of care'.
If ,lets say, Engineer's are working shifts such as double's ,or as airsupport pointed out shifts of 24 hours in duration, then the airline leaves itself open to a huge lawsuit if there is an injury or death. That is only one issue of many.
Secondly, ICAO is ramping up an emphasis on the the Fatigue Risk Management side of industry, and this has gained momentum since the Colgan Air accident and changes are on their way. Whether an employee likes the overtime $$ or not, long overdue changes in this are of risk management are coming.
Thirdly, with the introduction of SMS into the aviation industry,I think it will be very interesting to see the changes that will have to be made in relation to rosters, tasking,fatigue etc. Plasticmerc hit the nail on the head, it is not just flight crews who suffer from fatigue.
If Senior Airline Management still delude themselves into believing that only the Drivers up front are ' the only risk within a diverse and complex operation' then they had better pull their heads out of their asses and grasp an understanding of SMS and the differnce between responsibility and accountability. Accoutability rests upon the head of the CEO, and it will be his/her ass that ends up in jail.
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