Prosecute Qatar Airways over pregnancy sackings, TWU demands (

June 19, 2015

The Transport Workers’ Union is demanding that the Government prosecute Qatar Airways for discriminating against women workers, including allowing for them to be sacked if they become pregnant. The airline should be banned from entering Australia unless it abides by anti-discrimination laws, the union added.

The call comes after the International Labour Organisation found the airline breached international rules because of contracts stipulating flight attendants were to be fired for getting pregnant. The United Nations body also demanded the airline drop rules prohibiting women from being collected or dropped to work by anyone other than their father, husband or brother.

“As Australia is a signatory to the United Nations conventions, I call upon the Government to ensure that our laws and the international laws we have signed up to are no longer breached by this or any other foreign airline,” said TWU National Secretary Tony Sheldon.

For several years the International Transport Workers’ Federation has pursued discrimination at Qatar Airways with the help of its affiliated unions, including the TWU. Other concerns highlighted included foreign workers not being allowed to change jobs or leave Qatar once their employer terminates their contract.

“The Australian and foreign flight attendants working for this airline must be protected against this insidious prejudice that has the effect of silencing workers and stripping them of their dignity,” Sheldon said.

The issue raises questions about the labour standards of other foreign airlines operating in Australia, which pose a threat to the domestic aviation industry because of unfair competition.

“This must put to bed the notion of allowing foreign airlines to operate domestic routes in Australia. We cannot allow the medieval work practices from other countries to be imported in our airspace,” Sheldon added.

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