There has been a lot happening at Qantas and so we want to give members an overview of a number of issues that we have been dealing with on members’ behalf, so here is a quick summary:
Payroll – can it get any worse?
JobKeeper has been in place for more than a month, but Qantas can’t seem to solve the many, many payroll problems that members have been telling us about. ASU delegates and officials have been meeting regularly with the company to find out what is going in the payroll department. We met with the managers from payroll on Wednesday, 6 May and Wednesday 13 May. Many people cannot understand why they are receiving the pay they are, they can’t reconcile pay slips and needless to say people are reporting errors and an inability to resolve problems.
What we know is:
- Qantas says that 530 people have been overpaid since JobKeeper started. This is an amazing number of people who are affected and a lot of errors. We’re asking the company to delay any action to reclaim the money until things are back to normal. If you think there is a mistake in your pay you could very well be right.
- Qantas can’t give us an exact figure for how many people have been underpaid, or how long they are taking to fix the problems. We have demanded to know the numbers and are waiting to hear back from them about the actual numbers and what the company plans to do about this. Given the number of issues we have raised already we will not be surprised if the number of people underpaid match those “overpaid”. We’ve told them that they must comply with the EBA and fix underpayments within 5 working days (see Clause 33.5 of the EBA).
- Payroll call waiting times peaked last week at 45 minutes. Staff are currently waiting an average of 7 minutes to speak to someone about their payroll queries. This is unacceptable and we’ve asked management to fix it.
- Qantas is denying that any people have had their payroll queries closed without a response. We have seen examples where this has happened so we do not believe this assertion. If you have had this happen to you make sure you let your ASU organiser know.
We are waiting to hear from Qantas on a number of issues so stay tuned for an update.
Where to lodge your payroll complaints
Qantas has told us that the payroll mailboxes are overloaded and they cannot track the issues if they come in by email. If you have a payroll issue, you should notify the company through share point.
Follow the link to lodge your payroll query: https://qantas.sharepoint.com/myemployment/Pages/LogQuery.aspx#
Remember to attach any supporting evidence! Keep all the correspondence you receive so that you have the information to hand if you cannot resolve the problems or get answers. Your ASU organiser will need this information to follow up issues.
Offsetting Penalty Rates against Jobkeeper
As we have highlighted in previous bulletins, Qantas is taking advantage of the payroll cycle to offset penalty rates against a subsequent fortnight’s jobkeeper payments. We do not think this complies with the law. Other unions also think this is the case.
The ASU is seeking expert legal advice from the ACTU about the legality of Qantas’s penalty rip-off. We’ll have an update for you soon and will advise what we will do next. It is important that all unions and their members work together on this issue and so ACTUcoordination is critical.
Be kind to the payroll team.
We have been concerned for some time that that the payroll area of Qantas is under-staffed, overworked and under a lot of pressure. Management sets policy and staffing levels. If something goes wrong, it’s because management hasn’t made payroll a priority for years. Your ASU has said for a long time that Qantas management does not think that paying people correctly is core business, and the problems that have been there all along are just exasperated now with more people taking annual leave, getting jobkeeper, being stood down etc. not just in ASU areas but across the airline.
If you’re in the payroll team, we want to hear from you. Call your local organiser to set up a workplace meeting.
Sick Leave on stand down
Some weeks ago you will recall that the ASU went to the Fair Work Commission about the company’s decision not to pay sick leave to people who are stood down. That heartless decision included people on long term sick leave who have serious illnesses. We did not think this was right. At the same time the Maintenance unions and the TWU also issued proceedings in the Federal Court to challenge the actions of Qantas. We worked with these unions and their members too. Unfortunately this week a single Federal Court judge said that Qantas could do this, i.e. not pay sick leave to people who are stood down---- we understand that the unions concerned are considering an appeal, if they decide to appeal we will support them again in whatever way we can as this is an important issue for everyone.
More Qantas legal Action
Despite saying money is tight Qantas management has found money to spend on legal appeals and lawyers. The company contested the ability of the Fair Work Commission to hear disputes about Jobkeeper against another union’s members, we are pleased to say their appeal case was thrown out this week so we can take disputes about jobkeeper to the Fair Work Commission. We continually try to get management to talk with us to try and resolve issues and not have lawyers at fifty paces but unfortunately the company seems to have a default position of litigation which just wastes money that could be spent on staff.
Stand downs update
This week ASU delegates and officials have been consulting with the company on the next round of stand downs in ASU areas. In a number of areas we have been able to negotiate arrangements that suit members and we continue to try and ensure that people can share the work that is available among the maximum number of people. In some cases 4 week stand downs are the best idea – others its 2 week stand downs, in other areas there are partial stand downs. We have tried to negotiate rotations to best suit the areas concerned.
We have identified a number of issues at airports and have again requested that the company have full transparency on who is rostered and when – it is ridiculous that members cannot see the rosters that are constructed or that in some places people have no idea when they might be rostered, we have demanded this is fixed and will keep you posted on the response. Transparency and openness is vital so that people can plan their lives, take other jobs and make decisions about their options.
Also at airports we understand that some people will need to update their training to maximise their ability to be rostered for a range of tasks, we have raised this issue with the company – again we await Qantas’ response.
If you have queries or concerns about stand downs in your area make sure you contact your local ASU organiser.
In summary there is a lot going on and we are aiming to keep you in the loop as often as we can – remember you can always contact your local ASU organiser or delegate and in some places we are also holding virtual union meetings to keep you up to date on what is occurring. A number of ASU Qantas Group members have also taken advantage of our online courses through ASU Career Launchpad http://asucareerlaunchpad.tln.org.au/,, this is an exclusive member only benefit which you should consider taking a look at --- there are a wide range of topics covered both on demand and in live webinar sessions.
These are difficult and uncertain times but as always we are by your side.
Need more information?
For more information contact your local organisers (see full bulletin here).
If you are not a member of the ASU now is the time to join --- https://www.asu.asn.au/asujoin