May 20, 2021


The Transport Workers’ Union has slammed Qantas for cutting more jobs and bypassing enterprise bargaining, announcing to the ASX that it will impose a two-year wage freeze on workers.

TWU National Secretary Michael Kaine called on the Federal Government to take an equity stake in Qantas over the mismanagement of $2 billions in public funding which continues to cost jobs and drag down wages and standards.

“Qantas management is acting like a dictator, using public resources to shore up its position, cut jobs and impose unilateral decisions on its workforce. There is a system of enterprise bargaining in place so that both sides can sit down and compromise. This announcement to the ASX flies in the face of enterprise bargaining and should ring alarm bells to the Government and investors that Qantas is out of control,” he said.

“This year Qantas will have received $2 billion in Federal Government funding. On top of that the airline has wrung more public funding from state governments following recent announcements. We cannot see the benefit of this funding for the public when it continually results in job losses, outsourced workers and lower wages. We clearly need direct control over this critical infrastructure so that taxpayers don’t keep getting blind-sided by a crazy corporation that seems to believe we are living in the Republic of Qantas,” Kaine added.

“Australia is at a critical juncture with a failed vaccine rollout, international borders remaining closed and Australian citizens stranded overseas desperate to come home. We need level-headed management at the helm of our biggest airline to guide us through the difficult coming months. We do not need hot-heads who can’t keep their eye off the share price because of their own personal gains,” he said.

In 2014, Qantas posted a $2.8 billion loss and imposed a two-year wage freeze on its workforce after failing to secure a bailout from the Federal Government. Qantas workers’ earnings and superannuation never recovered from the wage freeze with a report by the Australia Institute showing it would result in a $30,000 hit to their superannation.

The TWU has been calling for conditions to be attached to all federal and state funding for Qantas, including a halt to outsourcing of jobs, a cap on executive salaries and a ban on bonuses.

A Federal Court ruling is due on a case taken by the TWU to reverse the outsourcing of Qantas’s entire 2,000 ground workers, so it can engage workers on less pay.

Tomorrow the High Court will hear an application from the TWU and other unions over sick Qantas workers refused their accrued leave. A separate High Court challenge by the TWU and other unions involves the misuse of JobKeeper.

Qantas revealed in its annual report last year it is paying its senior executives millions of dollars. 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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