Aviation ground workers win pay rises, job security after months of talks

Ground handlers at two contractors used by major airlines including Emirates, Qantas and Virgin have secured better working conditions after months of negotiations.

Unionized workers at Menzies and Dnata Catering have been battling for higher wages and overtime pay for months after two hot years for Australia’s aviation sector decimated employee morale, productivity and profits.

Dnata Catering and Menzies workers have secured improved wages and working conditions after months of negotiations.

Dnata Catering and Menzies workers have secured improved wages and working conditions after months of negotiations.Recognition:Paul Rovere

Kuwait-based Menzies is offering Australian employees an 11 per cent pay rise effective immediately and has pledged to bring all operations outsourced to temporary agencies back in-house to be carried out by their own staff. Menzies staff had considered moving to a protected vote of action if their demands had not been met.

Emirates-owned company Dnata has agreed to give Australian staff at Dnata Catering a pay rise of 7.5 and 8 per cent over two years, with payback until January 2022 when flying resumes after the pandemic.

The deal follows a deal last week with Dnata’s ground handlers that gives them a pay rise of 17 percent over four years, secures overtime entitlements and gives part-time workers more opportunities to convert to full-time positions and casual workers to permanent positions. The agreement prompted staff to call a protected strike that would have disrupted major airports such as Sydney and Melbourne.

The aviation sector has been impacted by operational issues on multiple fronts since emerging from COVID-19 lockdowns, encountering record travel demand, limited capacity and rising fuel costs. Staff shortages, stricken morale and the threat of industrial action have exacerbated the post-pandemic logistical challenges.


Swissport, another groundhandling company used by all Australian airlines at several airports including Sydney and Melbourne, will begin negotiations in December for better employment terms.

Transport Workers Union national secretary Michael Kaine said the improvements would “make a world of difference for workers who are under immense financial pressure, particularly Dnata Catering workers who have been denied a JobKeeper [payments] during the pandemic.”

“These workers have ensured their job security and a fair raise by sticking together, but the industry will not recover to where it needs to be without federal government intervention. It must institute a Safe and Secure Skies Commission, which will raise standards for both workers and the traveling public, and cap the obscene salaries of executives.”

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https://www.smh.com.au/business/companies/aviation-ground-workers-win-pay-rises-job-security-after-months-of-talks-20220915-p5bi8g.html?ref=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_source=rss_business Aviation ground workers win pay rises, job security after months of talks

Brian Lowry

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