A Report in The Australian says that Qantas has rejected claims by its maintenance staff that work on aircraft needs to be rechecked or redone more often or that corners are being cut.
An Australian Manufacturing Workers Union survey of 200 staff in four maintenance facilities found that almost two-thirds of the workers were worried about safety on Qantas aircraft due to staffing pressures and offshoring.
The survey comes with the media spotlight on the airline after a series of maintenance glitches and continuing delays Qantas has blamed on a dispute with another engineering union.
It was conducted after an exploding oxygen bottle blew a hole in an aircraft near Manila and while the carrier was being audited by the aviation watchdog.
It found 69 per cent said work had to be rechecked more often, 67 per cent agreed work had to be redone before it met standards and 62 per cent believed corners were being cut.
Just 29 per cent of workers had faith that management understood issues relating to safety and staffing.
Nearly all the workers said the best way to maintain the airline's safety standards was to keep work in-house in Australia rather than send it offshore.
But Qantas executive general manager of engineering David Cox said the survey was of 200 members of a union that was about to enter pay negotiations.
It was a disappointing and predictable move, he said.
"We obviously reject the findings -- our safety systems haven't changed," he said.
Mr Cox said it was disappointing the union was thumping the offshoring tub when 80 to 90 per cent of the airline's maintenance was done in Australia.
But AMWU national secretary Dave Oliver said the survey was not a Qantas-bashing exercise.
"Our members take pride in the fact that this airline has the reputation that it does because they see themselves as being responsible for that," he said.
The survey reflected findings by the Civil Aviation Safety Authority that Qantas was failing to meet some maintenance benchmarks, he said.
"Our members are telling us though this survey they are seeing numbers diminish, there's less investment into training and the engagement of more apprentices.-¬~
A Report by The Mole from the Australian
Friday, September 12, 2008
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