August 12, 2020

TWU calls for Qantas boss to resign

The Qantas Group has been rarely out of the press this year, on several occasions proving a terrible handing of the coronavirus pandemic, including:

  • outsourcing 2,500 jobs 0f all ground, baggage and cleaning workers from Qantas, QGS and Jetstar, with no consultation and no warning
  • announcing 6,000 redundancies to press before telling workforce and before waiting for government announcement on subsidies
  • refusal to pay seriously ill workers their accrued sick leave
  • misusing JobKeeper to pocket worker entitlements, such as overtime
  • constantly downplaying the highly contagious and deadly nature of the virus, telling workers the risk are “negligible” and “extremely low”
  • announced a ‘fly well’ programme that disregards social distancing and makes masks, gloves and sanitiser optional
  • allowed a cluster of 34 infections to spread resulting in the quarantining of 750 workers at Adelaide airport
  • allowed a further cluster to spread in Qantas Freight in Melbourne
  • threatened workers with sacking over raising concerns about the virus
  • suspended a health and safety rep for raising concerns

The Transport Workers’ Union is calling for Qantas CEO Alan Joyce to resign and Scott Morrison to act over the squandering of more than half a billion public dollars, as the airline moves to sack thousands more workers.

Qantas plans to axe all of its 2,400 ground, baggage and cleaning jobs through outsourcing, on top of 6,000 redundancies announced just two weeks ago. Qantas said it will put these jobs out for tender, to companies like Swissport which pay their workers below award rates.

TWU National Secretary Michael Kaine said  after receiving over half a billion dollars in taxpayers’ subsidies, Qantas was now pitching to become a Ryanair/Easyjet model in Australia.

“If Alan Joyce’s only plan is two wield the axe on thousands of loyal staff, he should resign. This is not shrewd management, it is economic violence. Qantas has taken millions in Jobkeeper wage subsidies, more than any other company, with the express intent of keeping people employed. But now Alan Joyce wants to destroy thousands more livelihoods. This is callous abuse of public money. The chief executive must resign,” Kaine said.

“We are calling on the Prime Minister to intervene and call Qantas to account over its misuse of taxpayers’ money. There is no dividend for the public if a company like Qantas can sack thousands of workers after receiving such financial support. The Prime Minister has failed to date to implement a national plan on aviation. He must act now to urgently save jobs and ensure a return for the public,” he added.

“This mass sacking will destroy standards built up over decades. It will introduce a rip off Ryanair model where neither workers nor passengers are protected. There are Qantas workers who have worked for several decades at the company and now face losing their jobs. This announcement is utterly devastating,” Kaine said.

Qantas has revealed it received $267 million through the JobKeeper Payment and $248 million through government financial assistance packages.

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