Airline workers are calling on Qantas to scrap the requirement for women to wear make-up, stockings and high heels, along with a slew of other uniform changes they say are more inclusive.
The Australian Services Union made the suggestions in a letter to Qantas CEO Alan Joyce on Monday as the airline looks to update its dress code later this year.
The call was timed to coincide with International Women’s Day and the Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras – of which Qantas is a major partner – because the unions says women and queer people in particular would benefit from dress code changes.
“We believe that all aspects of the Qantas brand must reflect today’s diverse and inclusive Australia, including the Qantas uniform,” the letter read.
“While airline uniforms have come a long way since the age of miniskirts and towering heels, there’s still a way to go.”
The union’s gripes about make-up policy go both ways.
Not only does the union want to remove the requirement for women to wear it, but it also wants other employees to be allowed to wear make-up if they adhere to company standards.
“Consider whether heels and hosiery are still necessary at all,” the letter continued.
Other suggested changes to the airline’s uniform code include giving cabin crew the freedom to wear badges stating their pronouns if they so please, as well as a call to explicitly allow culturally inclusive clothing.
The airline did not confirm whether cabin crew are currently unable to wear things like turbans or hijabs at work.
Did you know that @qantas still has a policy that requires women to wear make up, heels and smaller watches than men? Seriously Alan Joyce do you really need our help to fix this. https://t.co/LsdzeNSopr
— Michele O'Neil (@MicheleONeilAU) February 28, 2022
The union also criticised wristwatch guidelines between men and women.
“In 2022 we think women can handle the same size watch face as men if we choose,” the letter read.
A Qantas spokesperson confirmed to The New Daily the airline is “committed to promoting diversity and inclusion in all parts of our business”.
“We regularly review our uniform guide and have previously made amendments based on feedback from our people,” the spokesperson said.
“As we recently told the ASU, we are currently working on a review of the guide with a view to updating it in the coming months.”
The Flight Attendants Association of Australia told The Australian it supported the ASU’s demands but was currently more focused on negotiating a new workplace agreement for international cabin crew.