Since March 2012 your ASU airport delgates and officials have been meeting with Qantas management to discuss the failings of the company’s policies around how to deal with unaccompanied minors (UMs) and young people under 18 (YPs) at airports.
We have raised the issues you have told us about including the poor and inadequate facilities for UMs, the inconsistent application of overnight policies for UMs and YPs, the lack of direction on UMs care, the lack of procedures when UMs are not collected or do not want to travel and much more.
We have consistently raised the liability issues for Customer Service Staff that we saw arising from Qantas’ poor policy and it appears now the company has listened.
As foreshadowed in our bulletin on 21 August 2014 Qantas management had revamped the UMs and YPs policy taking on board many of our suggestions but it suspended its operation pending yet another review.
At our last meeting on 23rd September 2014, management now tell us they are continuing with their policy changes and will be restarting training for staff in the new policies.
There are also ambitious plans to fix the UMs rooms at the 7 busiest airports for transiting UMs by November 2014 and also plans to “revamp” some of the ways the service is offered – including the enforcement of the 4 hour transit rule, what happens with codeshare flights and more research on whether “Working With Children Checks” will be necessary for staff working with children.
We think, if Qantas is true to their word, that these developments are positive. As always though a policy is only as good as how it is enforced.
We urge ASU members to become familiar with the new policies and if it is not being followed at your airport or you are asked to cut corners in its implementation make sure you contact your local ASU delegates and organisers.
The ASU will be monitoring how the new policy progresses – if you have any suggestions, comments or queries let us know.
In the meantime, it is important to acknowledge the determination and input in to the policy process of the following ASU Qantas Airport delegates who have worked hard to get a better policy in place:
Helen Mair – Melbourne Airport
Steve Callen- SIT
Anna Maria Saglimbeni – Sydney Domestic
Tony Scott – Brisbane Airport
Shayne Stronach – Perth Airport