Qantas CEO Alan Joyce has been urged to bring the airline’s uniform policy into the 21st century by making makeup optional and nixing high heel requirements.
The Australian Services Union (ASU)’s assistant national secretary Emeline Gaske, wrote a letter to Joyce asking for Qantas to review the current uniform requirements to create a more inclusive workspace.
Gaske pointed out Qantas’ public image as a company that champions “matters important to women and LGBTQI+ Australians”, particularly through its partnership with Sydney Mardi Gras.
“We think its time the uniform requirements Qantas has of its employees reflect these commitments,” she said.
“We believe that all aspects of the Qantas brand must reflect today’s diverse and inclusive Australia, including the Qantas uniform.”
ASU posted the letter in its entirety to Twitter, including an email for Joyce to contact should he wish to take the conversation further.
“👇 Today (and with #IWD and #MardiGras coming up) we thought it timely to write to @Qantas’ CEO, Alan Joyce about moving the Qantas uniform policy into the 21st Century,” the Tweet caption read.
— Australian Services Union (@ASUnion) February 28, 2022
Gaske outlined nine “minimum”, “low-cost” changes that she said will help make the airline a workplace where “every employee can feel comfortable and confident”, including removing gender-based uniform requirements.
The suggestions also call for the removal of makeup requirements for women and allowing all employees the option to wear makeup in accordance with the style guide, allowing women to wear low heel shoes with all uniform items, allowing name badges to display pronouns, allowing for culturally inclusive dress and grooming and permitting all employees to wear the same sized watch faces.
“In 2022 we think women can handle the same size watch as men if we choose,” Gaske said.
“While airline uniforms have come a long way since the age of miniskirts and towering heels, there’s still a way to go.”
A spokesperson for the airline said Qantas is committed to promoting diversity and inclusion in all parts of its business.
“As we recently told the ASU, we are currently working on a review of the guide with a view to updating it in the coming months,” the spokesperson said.
The national carrier is currently embroiled in a row with another union, the Flight Attendants Association of Australia (FAAA) after applying to Fair Work to scrap its long haul cabin crew agreement, which could see pay cuts of up to 41 per cent.
Qantas moved to terminate its current agreement after flight attendants rejected a new offer that the union warned would lead to a pay cut and unfavourable conditions for some workers.
In light of the airline’s threats to scrap the agreement altogether, the union has agreed to hold a second vote on the new conditions.
FAAA national secretary Teri O’Toole told the Australian that while the ASU campaign is “a noble cause” her focus was on the international cabin crew agreement.