Aerocare rejects the allegations published by the ABC on its website today.
Aerocare takes employee concerns and workplace conditions seriously. The allegations are sensational and inaccurate and ignore the factual material which Aerocare has provided to the ABC.
With regard to the specific allegations, Aerocare provides the following information.
A former Aerocare worker inaccurately told 7.30 that a baggage handling supervisor was accidentally “locked” in the cargo hold of a plane about to take off from Brisbane airport, but that the incident was never reported to safety authorities.
As the ABC is aware, the supervisor was not locked in the hold. He opened the door from the inside and exited the plane. It is not possible to lock someone in the cargo hold. The incident occurred when the plane was being loaded. It was not about to take off and could not have taken off without clearance from the supervisor himself. Importantly the ABC is fully aware that the regulator, the Australian Transport Safety Bureau, has confirmed that the incident was not reportable but it seems this key fact has been misleadingly omitted.
WASTE AND WATER
A former employee claimed Aerocare put passenger health at risk by using the same staff member to clear toilet waste and then, just hours later, refill drinking water on plane. This is an intentionally misleading and mischievous statement.
Aerocare typically rosters separate people for waste and water services. Contrary to the intentionally disturbing way that the practice is presented it is also acceptable practice for waste and water services to be delivered by the same employee, provided adequate hygiene practices are followed, as trained by Aerocare and mandated by customers.
Aerocare takes the safety of its workers seriously and has a strong audited safety record in all of its operations without a single penalty over 25 years. It is frequently awarded for its safety performance and is the only Australian-owned ground handler with the top global safety accreditation, ISAGO. Aerocare’s Lost Time Frequency Injury Rate is less than one third the industry average: i.e. staff are three times more likely to be injured working for a competitor.
Most importantly, Aerocare’s staff this week voted overwhelmingly in favour of a new Enterprise Bargaining Agreement. There was a high participation rate of 88 per cent, with a resounding 83 per cent vote in favour of a new four-year agreement. This will deliver pay rises and additional new benefits across the board. The vote was conducted in an appropriate and auditable manner, which was previously specifically approved by the Fair Work Commission.
Media Contacts: Peter Brookes, 0407 911 389 or Helen McCombie 0411 756 248 – Citadel-MAGNUS