May 23, 2018

Airport workers have protested at Adelaide airport, calling on airports, airlines and Governments to address poor working conditions that are forcing staff to sleep at the airports.

TWU (VIC/TAS Branch) Secretary and TWU National Vice-President John Berger said protesters were calling for an end to low pay, forced part time jobs, casual work and split shifts.

“These working conditions and deliberate under-staffing are risking safety and security because of high turnover rates and chronic fatigue,” he said.

“Workers are sleeping at airports because split shifts force them to stay at work for 15 hours or more while they are getting paid for as little as six hours. They struggle to support their families because of low pay and forced part-time work.”

TWU National Secretary Tony Sheldon said airport workers are being ripped off while airports and airlines are making billions of dollars in profit.

“This doesn’t just affect the employees at airports but is causing safety and security breaches on a daily basis. If the Federal Government is serious about increasing security at our airports then it should start with holding airports and airlines to account for the conditions staff are forced to work in,” he said.

The four main airports Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth earned over $2 billion in profit in 2016-17, according to the ACCC’s monitoring report released last month.

Aviation ground services company Aerocare has been exposed after footage showed staff are forced to sleep at airports.

Other information about Aerocare includes:

  • High injury rates among staff. At Sydney International Airport there were 132 injury incidents among a staff of 326 over a one-year period.

  • Security incidents, including passengers at Perth airport being allowed airside to collect their baggage after a baggage handler was left alone to unload an entire aircraft

  • Staff being forced back to work while still injured

  • Aerocare managers accompanying injured staff into doctors’ surgeries during appointments

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