State's Qantas workers face axe

QANTAS engineers in Melbourne have lost out to their northern counterparts because the airline has transferred significant slabs of work done at Tullamarine to Sydney.

QANTAS engineers in Melbourne have lost out to their northern counterparts because the airline has transferred significant slabs of work done at Tullamarine to Sydney.

New details have emerged of the Melbourne engineering jobs to be axed, in the wake of Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce's announcement last Thursday that 500 jobs across the airline would go, with more to follow.

In a letter dated February 16, the airline's industrial relations manager, Sue Bussell, told the aircraft maintenance engineers' union, "a decision has been made to consolidate . . . [certain] Melbourne-based operations into Sydney".

The Melbourne-based positions to be axed include:

Ninety jobs from the aircraft airworthiness division by next February.

Sixty jobs from the engineering supply chain in six to eight months.

Thirty-one Melbourne jobs from the maintenance operations centre by August.

In addition, another 30 licensed aircraft maintenance engineers' jobs would go (from unspecified locations), as a result of scrapping the practice of having an engineer check all planes before all flights.

These job cuts are separate from the 1400 jobs at risk due to the rationalisation of Qantas' three heavy maintenance facilities to two, or just one location, which is subject to a 60-day review.

Avalon employs about 660 people, while there are 400 employees each at Tullamarine and Brisbane.

But despite the transfer of work from Melbourne to Sydney hangars, Sydney doesn't escape cuts, either.

A further 41 jobs at Sydney's aircraft maintenance facility and international terminal will be made redundant as a result of the accelerated retirement of two ageing Boeing 747s.

This is in addition to 30 redundancies and four aircraft retirements announced last August.

Yesterday, the aircraft engineers' union leaders met airline management for the first time to discuss the cuts and the heavy maintenance review.

A Qantas spokesman said the airline would offset some of the Melbourne job losses by adding some in Sydney, but declined to say how many.

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