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THE Unite union warned Qantas today against using “anti-union” tactics to silence health and safety concerns over cabin crew rest periods on its 17-hour direct route linking London and Western Australia.
The Australian airline introduced its new ultra-long-haul flight between Heathrow and Perth in March. It requires the 10 cabin crew members on board to work an average duty period of 19 hours.
Unite has raised concerns with Qantas that cabin crew based in Britain can only expect to receive an average of 25 hours’ rest in a hotel before starting their shift on the flight home.
The airline boasts that the 9,000-mile route between London and Perth is the third-longest passenger flight in the world.
According to Unite, Qantas cabin crew UK base manager Dannielle Morgan has dismissed concerns over fatigue by saying that members of cabin crew take time to “transition into new flying.”
Open conversations between Unite and its members on health and safety concerns have been described by the base manager as “unreasonable union activity,” the union says.
The manager has drawn parallels with a dispute involving Australian unions that saw workers locked out in 2011.
Unite regional officer Lindsey Olliver said: “Qantas cabin crew must be provided with adequate rest down route between sectors to ensure they are fully able to complete their safety-critical functions without impairment while operating on board an aircraft.
“A key element to this must include a ‘just safety culture’ that allows crew to discuss safety concerns, wellbeing and fatigue, free from threats and the fear of reprisals.
“I urge Qantas in the UK to engage with Unite and listen to its workforce, rather than resorting to bullying anti-union threats when dealing with legitimate safety concerns.”
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