Joyce hits back at union claims over Qantas restructure

written by australianaviation.com.au | August 17, 2011
Qantas tails.

Qantas CEO Alan Joyce has responded to union claims concerning job security in light of yesterday’s announcement of 1000 job losses as part of the extensive restructure of the airline’s international operations.

Qantas will offer voluntary redundancies to 1000 staff, which reportedly includes approximately 500 cabin crew, 200 engineers and 180 pilots, as well as various other associated personnel. “Of the 1000 positions that will be made redundant, not a single job will be lost as a result of Qantas’ plans to invest in a new premium airline in Asia,” Joyce said, stressing that Qantas would always be a majority Australia-owned airline.

“Some of the numbers being quoted today by union leaders – of between 5000 and 10,000 jobs affected – are completely unfounded,” he added.

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“The new strategy we announced for Qantas International yesterday is about ensuring that Qantas as a whole is competitive and sustainable for the next 10 years and beyond.”

The announcement of job losses coincides with the Qantas Group’s plans for two new Asian-based carriers, which has raised the ire of unions concerned about the future direction of Qantas International.

“This announcement flies in the face of all that makes Qantas great, that is its staff,” Australian Services Union (ASU) Assistant National Secretary Linda White said in a statement.

“ASU members will not be flat footed – we intend to fight this. We successfully lobbied in relation to the APA bid and we will do it again because Australians deserve better,” White added.

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Australian & International Pilot’s Association (AIPA) president Captain Barry Jackson was equally scathing of the Qantas restructure, urging the federal government “to look very carefully at the implications of Alan Joyce’s announcement today for the Australian public”.

“Strip away the spin and the eye-watering amount spent on advertising this morning and what’s left is exactly what Qantas pilots have been warning of for months: a shift of Australian Qantas operations into Asia to start employing people working to Asian conditions and standards,” Jackson said.

“The Qantas Sale Act was established when Qantas was privatised to prevent a CEO like Alan Joyce from doing something like this, because it is not in the interest of Australia or Australians,” he continued.

“Until we get an assurance from Alan Joyce that future Qantas flights will be operated by Qantas pilots – instead of outsourced and offshored alternatives – we will be doing everything we can to stop this destructive strategy for Qantas’s future.”

8 Comments

  • pez

    says:

    For the love of god (any god), do the unions not realise that with out these drastic measures, there will be no Qantas? If the unions had any sense over the last 10 years and helped the airline change, sharp shocks like this could have been avoided. Good luck Q

  • Chris

    says:

    Agree Pez.

    Also think QF should retire B744 and replace with B777.

  • Spare me

    says:

    Ah, so management are holier than thou? St Alan is next to godliness, eh? Why aren’t people questioning the failed management of this airline? Have people forgotten the $120 million Qantas was fined only 3 years ago for price fixing? Does anyone think that was the fault of the unions? Do unions make fleet choices? Any danger that someone is going to ask management how QF international is unprofitable when load factors are higher than they have ever been and jet fuel is 50% cheaper than 3 years ago? On another note, good to see the accountants involved at Enron have found gainful employment.

  • Reality check

    says:

    The problem here is that QF is operating in a global market while the unions are closing theitr eyes and pretending it doesn’t exist. When QF pilots can earn almost twice as their US counterparts flying the same class of aircraft and routes and QF can employ almost double the employees per aircraft of most US carriers, it is only a matter of time and economics. QF international has been bleeding for some time and it will only get worse unless someone takes some bold action. Sticking your head in the sand and making whiny passenger announcements will not help anyone. Blaming ‘management’ while bleeding the company through unrealistic salaries smack of cynicism.

  • Art

    says:

    Talk about history repeating itself ! This is the Ansett saga over again almost word for word. Surely it is time that the overpaid, self indulgent Qantas pilots and engineers realised that they are not living in a cocoon isolated from reality, where they can demand and receive whatever their fancy dictates. Rather than being the strength of Qantas, it’s staff appears to becoming a cancer which as with Ansett, could well be terminal and then I imagine that we will again witness the touching crocodile tears of all the “Loyal” staff..

  • Steve

    says:

    Ah yes the good old race to the bottom of the barrel…..oh and it’s all the unions fault. How naive can you guys get?

  • aviationenigma

    says:

    Reality, the current terms and conditions of US pilots is terrible and unsustainable. How can you justify lowering the terms and conditions of other countries to that?! (eg $18K per annum for a First officer is rediculous)
    Art, if you worked for a company for 10+ years, and they just threw you into the gutter with no support at all, how would you feel?
    No, I don’t work for any of the airlines mentioned, but surely there should be a way to reach a sustainable medium ground between both extremes, don’t you think? I’ve looked at different jobs, and when can you earn more money in IT out of the FIRST year of University, sure pilots, who spend thousands on dollars of their own money training and gaining their qualifications, deserve more than to battle for YEARS (decades) to get back the investment in their careers/livelihood?
    I would be interested to see you expand on your posts. Regards.

  • georged

    says:

    Qantas Staff strikes are Equal ‘Nero Playing Violin when Rome is Burning’.
    How can over staff, over Paid and Lazy Airline Continue?…
    Are you guys in Qantas ask government to pay to continue Qantas?
    Or What your dream plan to make Qantas profitable?
    You all are selfish unpatriotic Idiots!

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