Ahead of its heated annual general meeting today, Qantas has said that the financial impact by industrial action from three of its unions, the ALAEA, TWU and AIPA, has cost it $68 million to date.
“This drawn out and coordinated industrial campaign by these three unions is having a major impact on Qantas,” Qantas CEO Alan Joyce said in a statement. “Agreeing to the unions’ unreasonable demands would have a far greater cost [than the $68 million] on the company, including risking the future of Qantas.”
The airline says almost 73,000 passengers have been affected by industrial action since August, with 129 flights cancelled and 387 delayed, and four Boeing 767s and three 737s grounded from its fleet due to a backlog of maintenance work.
Interestingly, Qantas’s media statement lists AIPA (the Australian and International Pilots Association) alongside the TWU and ALAEA as being responsible for flight disruptions, despite AIPA limiting its protected industrial action campaign to date to pilots wearing red protest ties and making PA announcements during long haul flights about the union’s ‘Qantas pilots for Qantas flights’ campaign.
During the AGM Joyce said the three unions’ agenda was to “stop management from making the necessary changes at Qantas”.
“Their industrial objective is to force us to accept their impossible demands by slowly crippling our business and trashing our brand,” Joyce told the AGM. “But I can tell you this, we will not be handing over the power to run Qantas to three unions.”