Flightdeck workers to ground IBM

Strikes will stymie online trade for Qantas, Westpac, Customs

Planes could be grounded and banking systems disabled after negotiations failed between IBM and staff in its Baulkham Hills “Flightdeck” facility.

Qantas, Cathay Pacific, Air New Zealand and Westpac, along with government agencies Medicare and Customs, are some of the businesses that face critical IT and infrastructure outages if strikes planed for Thursday go ahead.

Workers are represented by the Australian Services Union (ASU) which has pressured IBM for employee collective agreements which include equitable pay rises, redundancy packages, penalty rates and leave entitlements.

ASU branch secretary Sally McManus said IBM has flatly refused to accept the collective agreements since negotiations began in May this year.

“They point blank refused to meet with us in May, and they refused in a meeting in May to enshrine anything in a collective agreement or agree to any pay increases,” McManus said.

“IBM told us today that they won't negotiate or meet with us if we plan to strike, but there's no point of meeting if they won't move on anything.

“IBM wants everything in policy so they can change things in a whim; redundancy pay is now under review with no discussions with staff. Some staff haven't had a pay rise in six years.”

McManus said IBM is putting the reputation of its customers at risk because they will be unable to process online transactions, including money transfers and bookings.

At the Baulkham Hills facility — known as “Flightdeck” because the rows of computers resemble an aircraft flight deck — workers maintain critical applications and continually fix errors to maintain smooth service operations for some of IBM’s biggest customers. This is a key bargaining chip for the ASU, according to McManus.

“Airport customers will face flight delays, billions of dollars may not be processed for Westpac, and Customs won't be able to keep track of security checks, all because IBM refuses to talk to its employees,” she said in a statement.

“Every one of the IBM customers has collective agreements so I would imagine they will be pretty annoyed that their business is at risk because IBM refuses to work with us.”

The strike was agreed upon last Friday after the results of a two-week long secret ballet drew 87 percent support for indefinite strikes. The action will begin with rolling four-hour work stoppages and will be escalated if IBM “doesn't budge”.

IBM raised objections with the Australian Industrial Relations Commission in July that the ASU should not be allowed to represent Flightdeck workers.

IBM spokesman Caspian Smith said in a written statement that it will maintain service level agreements with customers.

"We are engaged in ongoing discussions with employees at the site in question to address any issues directly, and we will continue to maintain service levels to our clients," he said.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Darren Pauli

Computerworld
Show Comments

Cool Tech

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?