Shareholder Anger at AGM Highlights Need for Qantas Management to Take ‘High Road’

Release date: 3/11/2012

Widespread anger from Qantas shareholders and employees at today’s Qantas AGM highlights the need for the Qantas Board of Directors to change course from the ‘low road’ policies of existing senior management, and start making the right decisions to ensure an safe and secure Australian future for Qantas and Qantas jobs. That’s according to senior Transport Workers’ Union (TWU) official Klaus Pinkas.

Mr Pinkas joined TWU members, officials, and Qantas shareholders at the Qantas AGM today in Canberra, where shareholders and employees alike showed their opposition to the ‘low road’ senior management tactics taken over the last year: “It’s clear that the disastrous decisions of existing management since last year’s AGM have led to the heated backlash from small and employee shareholders that we saw today.”

“While institutional shareholder may have voted en mass with the company, it is clear that Alan Joyce cannot continue to call Qantas’ first loss in 17 years and a damaging lockout of staff as a positive transformation of the company.”

“In today’s AGM, when confronted with questions regarding the lock-out, Mr Joyce denied Qantas figures released during the 2011/2012 Financial report, that put the cost of the grounding at $194 million. Furthermore he attempted to brush off the fact that the Fair Work Ombudsman is prosecuting Jetstar for illegally crewing domestic Australian flights with Thai flight attendants, some on as little as $400 per month.”

TWU Qantas veteran of over 14 years, Chris O’Grady, also attended today’s AGM: “I came today to ask the Qantas Board to listen to the people of Australia, its shareholders and the thousands of Qantas workers who want nothing more than for Qantas to prosper. The policies of this management have seriously shaken the confidence of staff, shareholders and the wider public in the ability of existing management to turn the company around.”

Mr Pinkas concluded: “Qantas staff and the Australian travelling public want to see a strong and secure future for our national carrier. However, the actions of existing management are undermining this. What is needed is for Qantas senior management to start treating their workers with respect and for the Government to step in and develop industry wide regulation and ensure a level playing field across the entire Australian aviation industry.

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