A union official has lashed out at Qantas plans to shed 500 jobs as illegal, saying the airline should be prosecuted under the Fair Work Act.
Calling Qantas CEO Alan Joyce a “foul liar,” Transport Workers Union boss Tony Sheldon said the plan to cut jobs violated requirement laid out by Fair Work Australia and called on the labour umpire to prosecute the airline “with all the strengths of the law.”
“They have an obligation to consult, negotiate and have proper conversations and engagement with their work force when restructuring occurs,” Sheldon said, adding that the union would “fight for the heart and soul of Qantas.”
The TWU and the union representing Qantas pilots remain in binding arbitration overseen by Fair Work Australia, which barred the unions and the airline from taking industrial action after Qantas management grounded the fleet in October amid a contract row.
Sheldon’s comments to reporters on Friday made clear that the relationship between management and the unions has continued to deteriorate.
“It’s clear the Australian people have got one foul liar running a company and destroying the company,” Sheldon said of Joyce. “It’s become clearer and clearer from both statements within Qantas management privately, and from our politicians in Canberra on both sides of the house, that Qantas intends to strip the flying kangaroo and Jetstar in an operation to maximise profits for the executives.”
Qantas announced plans to cut jobs yesterday after revealing that half yearly profits had fallen 83 per cent. The jobs cuts are expected to come from consolidation of catering and engineering operations, with another 1400-plus jobs under threat as Qantas reviews its heavy maintenance operations in Australia.