A British union has raised concerns over the health and safety of British crews operating the 17-hour long-haul flight between Perth and London.
Unite, Britain’s largest union has also accused the airline of employing ‘anti-union’ tactics and trying to silence its concerns.
According to a statement from Unite, the new direct route, launched in March this year, means an average duty period of 19 hours for the 10 cabin crew on board each 787 Dreamliner aircraft serving the route.
Unite has raised concerns with Qantas that the cabin crew, who are all UK based, can only expect to receive an average rest of 25 hours in their hotel before commencing their duty on the flight home.
The union claims this is insufficient and conducive to fatigue.
Unite said Qantas’ cabin crew UK base manager Dannielle Morgan has sought to dismiss concerns over fatigue as members of cabin crew taking time to ‘transition into new flying.’
Additionally, open and transparent conversations between Unite and its members on legitimate health and safety concerns have, according to the union, been described by the base manager as ‘unreasonable union activity’ with the manager drawing parallels with a dispute involving Australian unions that saw workers locked out in 2011.
“Qantas cabin crew must be provided with adequate rest down route between sectors to ensure they are fully able to complete their safety-critical functions without impairment whilst operating onboard an aircraft,” said Unite regional officer Lindsey Olliver.
Travel Weekly contacted Qantas about the allegations.
“Making sure our crew have enough rest is important to us and something we’re very used to managing given our experience with ultra long-haul flying,” said a Qantas spokesperson.
“These crew had previously been operating around seven hours of flying between London and Dubai, so we’re conscious there is a period of adjustment.”
“Safety is always our main priority and we’re committed to working through any concerns constructively.”
Unite is calling for Qantas to implement “more sensible rostering practices” by stopping its current trip length ‘trial’ in favour of a 5-6 day trip pattern.