ALAEAAustralian Licenced Aircraft Engineers Association
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The fact is that union membership among the parts of the airline's workforce covered by the TWU, AIPA and ALAEA is far higher than overall union density in Australia.
To return though to the unions that featured in this particular dispute, the TWU covers ground service employees (ramp and baggage handling) and catering staff engaged by Qantas and a related entity, QCatering Ltd; the AIPA represents pilots employed on the airline's long-haul routes; while the ALAEA covers licensed aircraft engineers.
For its part, the ALAEA sought commitments from the airline to retain the performance of maintenance functions by licensed aircraft engineers; and to continue carrying out maintenance checks on the new fleet of A380 aircraft 'in-house'.
In March 2011 the ALAEA took steps to enable its members to take protected action in support of their bargaining claims against Qantas, by obtaining a protected action ballot order ('PABO') from FWA.
Spokeswoman Olivia Wirth added that the ALAEA was clearly intent on causing severe disruptions.
In addition the carrier said that due to the strike action by the ALAEA and the Transport Workers' Union over 60,000 passengers have been affected with 129 services being cancelled and 321 services being delayed or brought forward.
ALAEA will keep the ban on overtime and the go-slow in place until Christmas.
The ALAEA is said to have indicated that it will not take industrial action for at least the next four weeks.
The ALAEA reportedly oversees maintenance of some of Qantas' aircraft.
David Cox, executive general manager of Qantas Engineering, said that wiring issues, which were identified on two of its aircraft and had been used by the ALAEA to make this case, did not compromise the safety of the aircraft in any way.
The escalation follows an acrimonious breakdown in talks between the ALAEA and Qantas management on Thursday after what the airline called Oaggressive and inappropriate behaviorO from a union official.
ALAEA national secretary Steve Purvinas is quoted in The Age newspaper as saying Virgin Blue plans to plans to extend the period for weekly aircraft inspections to 15 days.