As Qantas and Air New Zealand sidle off into an unofficial defacto
relationship of some uncertain strength, the mangy Roo’s attention is
turning to Asia and its Singapore based version of Jetstar that will be
starting soon.

That, rather than links to Singapore will remain the focus for CEO
Geoff Dixon, who at the time of the British Airways sale a fortnight
ago chided reporters for making “too much” of any links with
Singapore. Singapore is a convenience ploy for Geoff Dixon and
his board to play to divert attention from what they are really

And judging by the leaks, emails and other comments from inside and
around Qantas, there is growing uncertainty about what will happen
later this year domestically, and internationally when the London base
for international long haul cabin crew is supposed to start.

The latest comment below shows that Qantas is playing hardball with
attendants and prepared to take risks in preparing for that staff brawl
in December. The correspondent says they talked to a “young girl last night (this
was received two days ago) who starts training as a long haul flight
attendant on the 27/9/04. She is on a three month contract
starting 11/12/04, which is the week prior to the current long haul
flight attendant enterprise bargain expiry. Once her three month
contract is finished she will be back out there having to look for a
new job.

Her training, which is usually seven weeks for new
recruits, will run for 12 nights. She starts every night at 7pm through
to 7am.

When she questioned the odd hours of the training course she was told
“well, we need to see how you handle the shift work”. Strange, I would
have thought daylight hours a more optimum learning time for things
like fire fighting on board an aircraft, management of medical
emergencies, killing hijackers and the all important emergency
evacuation procedures.

Don’t forget Qantas flight attendants have had a couple of those to
contend with in the last couple of years. Do Qantas customers, in times
of heightened security, want flight attendants who were trained through
a sleepy fog?

This new recruit has also been told there is a chance she will do NO
flying over the course of the three month contract and will be sitting
at home on minimum wage. But try telling a young girl who has always
wanted to be a flight attendant that working under these conditions
might not be such a great career move. It’s obvious Qantas management
are arming themselves for an all out civil war over Christmas/New Year
and corporate greed is blinding them to the fact that
treating young workers so awfully is not in keeping with “the Spirit Of

And a reminder, this is what was published in Monday’s sealed section:

We’ve been reporting the preparations At Qantas for a possible brawl
with its flight attendants in December when the London-based
international crewing operation is due to start. This is what we
published last week:

The airline is going into defensive mode. With the proposed
London base (49 have signed up for 480 slots) and the expected
industrial troubles with the international cabin crew at Christmas, the
‘black widow’ (otherwise known as Lesley Grant GM customer service) has
moved domestic crew to all regional flying on Airbus A330-300 and
Boeing 767 (Hong Kong, Singapore, Tokyo) from October onwards. At the
same time she offers leave without pay to international crew. In
addition she has trained 700 strike breakers on fixed term contracts
(in addition to office staff) for 10 months.

More information has now emerged about the argument between the
airline, the Flight Attendants Association and Long Haul cabin crew.

Effective October 4, all Airbus A300 300 flights will be crewed by
Short Haul (cabin crew). No changes to Boeing 767 crews have been
announced, but with Airbus replacing 767s upon delivery there is
probably no need for Qantas to do anything. It will happen naturally.

Award conditions already exist for Overseas Bases, The FAAA however,
has concerns over the new proposed conditions for a 2 year base in
London, such as, requirement to work additional hours for no pay which
Qantas calls roster efficiencies. Then there’s a requirement to take
leave without pay from Qantas and be contracted to another company,
Qantas Cabin Crew UK Ltd.

Qantas will cease contributions to superannuation. Long Service Leave
will not accumulate. To be fair no Flight Attendants are forced to go,
it is voluntary, [so far] hence the low volume of applications less
than 100. However, the real issue not made known in the media, as you
have pointed out, is the fact that Qantas wants no cap on number of
Flight Attendants employed overseas and plans to phase in British
attendants in increasing numbers to replace Australians over the 2 year

The announced 480 positions won’t be sufficient anyway and the recently
employed Australians on 11 month contracts would not be required after
that time.