Qantas Call For Industrial War Puts Ideology Ahead Commercial Return

Release date: 13/02/2014

Transport Workers Union National Secretary Tony Sheldon today said Qantas plans to declare industrial war on its workforce were cynicism of the worst kind and would further damage the airline’s profitability.

Qantas CEO Alan Joyce is in Canberra this week and has highlighted plans for industrial confrontation to address financial difficulties at the airline. Mr Joyce also reportedly spoke approvingly of the 2011 shutdown which stranded 200,000 passengers.
“Qantas management risks driving this airline into the ground,” Mr Sheldon said.
“Last year they tried and failed to repeal the Qantas Sale Act and secure debt guarantees.
“This week Qantas is pandering to Liberal prejudices with promises of industrial war and the likely outsourcing of more Australian jobs.
“The 2011 shutdown, and the latest 1000 job losses, should be points of shame.
“Instead they are proud boasts for those who rank ideology ahead of commercial return.”
Mr Sheldon said Qantas belonged to its shareholders and to the Australian community, and neither group supported the Board’s workplace crusade.
“Its time for shareholders and the public to tell Qantas to change course and put the airline’s future ahead of personal ideology,” Mr Sheldon said.
“Qantas executive salaries have risen 82% since 2010.
“At the same time the airline recorded a $300m half-year loss, the lowest share price in 20 years and the loss of thousands of jobs.
“No Qantas Group dividends have been paid for years. In 2013 Qantas shares were downgraded to ‘junk’ status.
“This is a poor management record for an airline with a 65% domestic market share.
“Qantas does not need industrial warfare or more global shutdowns. It needs a management who put the health of the airline first.”
A 2012 survey of aviation staff found Qantas rated among the worst for job satisfaction, chances of improvement or communication with staff. Less than half of Qantas workers (45%) say they would recommend it as an employer.
Mr Sheldon also called on the Federal Government to publish details of Ministerial staff declarations, to reveal which political advisers had shares in Qantas or received corporate hospitality from the airline.
“The question that needs asking is what Qantas shares, hospitality or Chairman’s Lounge access are provided to Government MP’s, or to staff in the offices of the Treasurer or Transport Minister,” Mr Sheldon said
“Ministers declarations of interests are on the public record. Its time for advisors to follow suit, so conflicts of interest can be clearly exposed.”
Since 2009:
·      The Qantas share price has fallen by nearly two thirds, from $3.06 in July 2009 to $1.18 today.
·      No dividends have been paid to Qantas Group shareholders
·      Domestic market share has fallen and international routes have been cut
·      8,800 jobs have been lost
·      The airline reputation has been trashed with a global shutdown stranding hundreds of thousands of Australians.
·      The airline has posted its first ever half-year loss - $300m in the red.
Qantas Board response:
·      Another 1,000 jobs to go
·      Australian flight attendants replaced by Thai workers on $247 a month.
·      Australian ground crew outsourced and casualised, reducing wages and airport security
·      Calls for repeal of Qantas Sale Act, so more jobs can be offshored.
·      Calls for a debt guarantee so management is no longer accountable for corporate failings
·      Siphoning millions from Australian domestic and international operations to prop up Jetstar Asia, an unsuccessful regional offshoot.
·      Higher executive pay – up 82% over last four years.
·      Boasts of future plans for industrial confrontation.

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