Qantas Dispute 2011 Case Study

3851 words - 15 pages

BackgroundThis paper aims at analyzing the industrial dispute between Qantas and the trade unions in 2011. The key questions include: (1) what were the causes and consequences of the Qantas dispute in 2011? (2) What does it illustrate about changing industrial relations in Australia?To address the question (1), there is an analysis of the interviews and documentary evidence to explain the causes and consequences of the Qantas dispute. To the question (2), it applies theories of industrial relation to the Qantas case in order to give a clearer sense of the lived reality of the transition in industrial relation in Australia.For the first area, the paper reveals the causes of the Qantas dispute which can be classified as both economic and non-economic, including wage and working conditions (economic), and management policy (non-economic). Then it identifies and discusses the consequences in terms of employer, employee and society perspectives. For the second area, it reveals how the globalization shaped the Qantas dispute and changed the industrial relations. Then it uses the case of Qantas to illustrate the government's shift from collectivism to more individualism as well as the organizational trend toward unitarist approach.In order to assist the readers' understanding to the later discussion, this paragraph gives a brief description about the Qantas dispute. Nearing the end of 2011, Qantas faced serious industrial disputes with three major trade unions, the Australian and International Pilots Union (AIPA), the Transport Workers Union (TWU), and Australian Licensed Engineers Union (ALAEA). The disputes commenced when Qantas and unions commenced bargaining for new enterprise agreements. The trade unions representing employees of Qantas demanded higher wages, better working conditions and better job security clauses. Tension between Qantas management and its employee peaked when Qantas announced its plan to launch an airline in Asia, as well as jobs cutting. During the bargaining, the employees carried out a number of protected industrial actions. As a result, CEO of the airline Alan Joyce announced grounding of all domestic and international flights which is a result of lock-out of the employees involved in industrial actions. The industrial action was terminated by Fair Work Australia (FWA) after an application by the Federal Minister for Workplace Relations on 31 October 2011 and both parties are required to carry out negotiations in 21 days. (Sheehan, 2011; ABC New, 2011; Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, 2011)CausesThe underlying causes of industrial dispute between Qantas and the unions can be classified as economic and non-economic. The economic aspect in the Qantas case refers to wages and working conditions and the non-economic aspect refers to management policy. In both aspects, there was conflict of interest over a number of issues, which are wages, working conditions and management policy, between the Qantas management and the...

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