September 17, 2020


An Ernst & Young report describing Qantas criteria for workers to bid for their own jobs as “unattainable and unrealistic” will be used as evidence at the Fair Work Commission this afternoon.

Workers will argue the airline has stacked the odds against them to win a contract to do their own jobs, including a six-week deadline, labour savings of $100 million and $80 million on equipment that the airline failed to upgrade during its years of bumper profits.

The Ernst & Young report states Qantas management needs to give workers more information on the cost savings and to provide an assessment on how Qantas will maintain minimum standards if it makes the cost cuts.

TWU National Secretary Michael Kaine said the EY report strongly suggests Qantas management had no intention of awarding the contract to its own workers. It is clear the airline wants to bring in outside contractors such as Swissport so that workers can be paid less.

“Qantas management set 2,500 workers up to fail because it wants to axe and outsource every one of them. Documents obtained by the media show this plan was cooked up 10 years ago. For an airline that has been awarded $800 million in taxpayers’ subsidies through Jobkeeper and funding to fly this is a disgrace. Qantas management owes the Australian community more than this type of spiteful action against vulnerable workers at a time of crisis,” he said.

“We will tell the Fair Work Commission today that Qantas management has deliberately set an unfair process and we will ask for workers to have more time and more information to bid for their jobs,” Kaine said.

“Qantas management is using the pandemic to prey on the community. It is being pumped with public money to keep it alive, it has set a bidding war among the states desperate to boost jobs to relocate its headquarters and it is axing and outsourcing jobs. The Federal Government has no plan, no policy and no strategy for aviation and it is allowing Qantas management to call the shots. Even the Trade Minister appears to be taking instruction from Alan Joyce when he speaks out about the airline, as revealed by Alan Joyce this morning on radio. Right now we need elected leaders to be in control and it doesn’t appear to be the case when it comes to Qantas,” he added.

Swissport which the Fair Work Commission has confirmed pay their workers below award minimums and which has been exposed over low paid workers forced to sleep at the airports, has already begun advertising for the Qantas work.

Last Friday Qantas workers delivered a letter to Qantas CEO Alan Joyce asking him not to outsource their jobs. The TWU has asked states and territories to refuse financial incentives to Qantas unless it agrees to halt the outsourcing.

The public and politicians are being asked to sign a petition to the Qantas board: https://actionnetwork.org/petitions/save-qantas-jobs/

In documents to workers, Qantas has given workers until October 9 to make a final bid and to find $100 million labour cost savings and $80 million to fund equipment upgrades, despite the airline choosing not to do these upgrades when it made billions of dollars in profit, including $1.5 billion in profit in 2016, $1.4 billion in profit in 2017, $1.6 billion in profit in 2018 and $1.3 billion in profit in 2019.

When Qantas announced its CEO received $24 million pay package he was the highest paid CEO in Australia and the highest paid airline executive in the world.

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