TWU: Joyce must quit Qantas and PM intervene

written by Adam Thorn | August 25, 2020
Qantas group chief executive Alan Joyce. (Qantas)

The TWU has sensationally called on Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce to resign after the business announced a further 2,500 staff could go.

The union has also demanded Prime Minister Scott Morrison personally intervene over what it terms a “misuse of taxpayers’ money” in relation to the amount of JobKeeper it’s drawn down.

National secretary Michael Kaine said, “This is not shrewd management, it is economic violence.”

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Earlier on Tuesday, Qantas dropped a bombshell and revealed plans to outsource its remaining ground handling operations would result in 370 job losses at Jetstar and possibly around 2,000 at Qantas.

“If Alan Joyce’s only plan is to wield the axe on thousands of loyal staff, he should resign,” said Kaine.

“Qantas has taken millions in JobKeeper wage subsidies, more than any other company, with the express intent of keeping people employed. But now Alan Joyce wants to destroy thousands more livelihoods. This is callous abuse of public money. The chief executive must resign.

“We are calling on the Prime Minister to intervene and call Qantas to account over its misuse of taxpayers’ money. There is no dividend for the public if a company like Qantas can sack thousands of workers after receiving such financial support.

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“The Prime Minister has failed to date to implement a national plan on aviation. He must act now to urgently save jobs and ensure a return for the public.

“This mass sacking will destroy standards built up over decades. It will introduce a rip-off Ryanair model where neither workers nor passengers are protected. There are Qantas workers who have worked for several decades at the company and now face losing their jobs. This announcement is utterly devastating.”

The Qantas brand is proposing to outsource its ground handling operations at the 10 Australian airports where the work is done in-house, which includes Adelaide, Alice Springs, Brisbane, Cairns, Canberra, Darwin, Melbourne, Perth, Sydney and Townsville.

Jetstar, meanwhile, has already decided to outsource ground handling at the six remaining Australian airports – Adelaide, Avalon, Brisbane, Cairns, Melbourne and Sydney Domestic – leading to 370 job losses, subject to union consultation.

Jetstar chief executive Gareth Evans said, “We expect some unions will come out and say these suppliers are unsafe, despite the fact they are used by every other airline in this country.

“We would never compromise on safety. We’ve already worked with some of these suppliers for decades and we know their track record on safety is consistent with work done in-house.”

The news comes a week after the wider company blamed a “near-total collapse in travel demand” for recording a statutory loss before tax of $2.7 billion for the last financial year.

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51 Comments

  • Graham Haxell

    says:

    Here here! Time for him to go!

  • John Phillips

    says:

    Let us never forget what the TWU put QF through, forcing Joyce to ground the airline.

    Pay back time, boys!

  • Kim

    says:

    Yah right .

    And who listens to the unions anyway.
    They always out with the fairyers,
    They bee pi%%ed off since Joyce ground the air line years ago.

  • Dave

    says:

    Allan Joyce is a corporate thug and he doesnt care about his passengers, only their wallets. Qantas will soon have the same tag as the unpopular JetStar.

  • Bruce to hitnton

    says:

    Yes the little garden gnome shud resign think he is the most hated ceo Qantas ever had

  • Max

    says:

    It’s time for a responseable Australian to run our national carrier.

  • Max

    says:

    John Phillips, “forcing Joyce” “payback time boys” you sound like you are of the same ugly ilk as Alan Joyce.

  • Scott Collins

    says:

    Who really cares what the TWU thinks. The Aviation world has changed dramatically and Qantas and all airlines need to change for the new conditions. Dinosaurs like Michael Kaine do not provide any useful input to a very complex and difficult situation.

  • Linda Weaving

    says:

    More than that. I’d say Joyce is the most hated CEO in the country full stop!
    Outsourcing leads to lower standards & wage theft.
    SACK JOYCE!

  • PETER EMMETT

    says:

    Hear, Hear…

  • Linda Weaving

    says:

    The TWU should pull their head in too. They’ve no right to demand special privileges not afforded to other much larger & equally devastated sectors. The government has already wracked up record debt in the $billions that will take decades to pay off. There are limits. Taxpayers do not deserve to be overburdened for the sake of one business. Qantas won’t go the way of Virgin. Virgin was already on the verge of bankruptcy even before the pandemic hit.

  • Paul

    says:

    Since when have unions been given the right to demand resignations. They forget that without jobkeeper payments many more airline staff would be unemployed right now from both Qantas and Virgin. They squeal that the airlines should receive the money then when it suites them it is not ok at all. If anything the unions will still have them as members when they are deployed to another company. The unions forget there is no such thing as a job for life, well unless you are a union official

  • James Dean

    says:

    TWU forgets that Job Keeper keeps the wallets of their members filled instead of leave without pay. It doesn’t just sit in some magical Qantas bank, it’s payed directly to the staff. Let’s just blame Joyce for the sky being blue too!

  • Dave

    says:

    Never waste a crisis, hey AJ!!
    This is just the start and this practice will eventually continue to as many departments as possible. If there’s a outside company that provides similar functions (Check-in, Engineering etc.) Upper Management will have plans set to outsource whatever they can get away with. In this virtual world, this is the crux of a virtual airline. Forget BLM, how about QSM (Qantas Staff Matter!)

  • Unfortunately he’s very smart and very cut throat.
    Mr Joyce will do anything that he considers excepable to keep Qantas top gun !
    Profits at the end of the day is all that matters to him .
    Certainly not good for the employees.Goes without saying.

  • michael

    says:

    joyce was happy to take 26 million $ in bonus’s last year and this year with things getting tight decides to sack thousands of workers that have worked their guts out for Qantas for decades.and secured him that bonus payment. maybe he should just give that back to support his staff.

  • Marum

    says:

    Adam. I have no more time for Allan Joyce than anyone else. His attempt to make everyone do and say what he wants, was the last straw. (Thee Israel Folau debacle)

    BU. I quote: “We are calling on the Prime Minister to intervene and call Qantas to account over its misuse of taxpayers’ money. There is no dividend for the public if a company like Qantas can sack thousands of workers after receiving such financial support.
    “The Prime Minister has failed to date to implement a national plan on aviation. He must act now to urgently save jobs and ensure a return for the public.
    .
    You cannot have it both ways. If, as you claim, Morrison is incompetent; what makes you think he would manage QANTAS better than AJ? I always believe the Govt should keep its nose out of private business. We are after all, a capitalist, free enterprise, democracy.
    .
    Governments and the Public Service are Hierarchical Bureaucracies. Hopefully. Never the twain shall meet.

    BTW. I enjoy your articles. Just felt the need to offer another opinion, on this matter.

    Regards….Marum.

    • Adam Thorn

      says:

      Keep your opinions coming Marum! Reading the comments is the best bit of my job.

      For the TWU to demand Joyce go is quite the nuclear move… and I think it reflects how unexpected this announcement was. The question I think will be asked in calmer times is why didn’t they announce this weeks ago along with the 6,000?

      Thanks,

      Adam

  • Simon

    says:

    Off with his head

  • Steve A

    says:

    I’m not a big fan of unions, having been a business owner in the past, but with big companies like QF, they are absolutely necessary to protect working Australians from management who place making management bonuses ahead of all else. I find it hard to imagine that there’s still people out there like John Phillips who seem to have missed 12 year’s of AJ history.
    I warned about AJ way back in my 2014 Senate Qantas Inquiry submission. I had attempted to set up Australia International Airlines in 2012, with hundreds of millions of dollars of investors on board. When QF started hemorrhaging money, because of bad management, my investors headed for the hills.
    AJ took over a healthy airline back at the end of 2008, after it had just made a whopping $1.4 billion profit for the year and paid shareholders 35 cps fully franked. It’s been down hill ever since then.
    AJ is the worst thing to ever have happened to QF, COVID excepted.
    By the time of the 2014 Senate Qantas Inquiry, Qantas was close to going under. It’s shares had gone from $6.30 per share 6 years earlier to under a dollar each. S and P had given it junk bond status.
    The Senate Qantas Inquiry was set up to investigate the running of QF, what had gone so terribly wrong?
    At the Inquiry, AJ blamed the unions, the staff,the former management, the Federal government, the Qantas Sale Act, the crappy planes that he had inherited, the end-of-line theory, the competition, the high price of fuel, and the GFC, to name but a few things.
    AJ was not to blame. After all, he had only been CEO for just 6 years by that stage, which was hardly enough time for him to make the necessary changes, wasn’t it?
    So, with a promise of a future plan and a war on costs, amazingly he was given another go. But hadn’t he already had a go at a transformation plan before? If we look at the 2009 annual report, in fact AJ had already implemented a turnaround plan way back then.
    In my 2014 submission, I warned that AJ had virtually destroyed QF once, and couldn’t be trusted again. I stated that the QF management were totally bereft of ideas, and their motivation was to stuff as many write downs into that one bad year as possible 1n order to make the successive year’s “recovery ” look so much greater. And by doing so, they could pocket management bonuses on the write downs for many years to come.
    And that’s exactly what they did. AJ was the white knight who turned QF around. The very next year he received $11.9 million in salary and bonuses versus a zero cps dividend for shareholders. That’s fair, isn’t it?
    As Mr Joyce said in the annual report, it’s been an amazing turnaround year, all due to the incredible transformation program that we implemented.
    But in fact that was just spin doctor BS. In fact if you look at the facts, more than $600 million of the turnaround was because the price of oil dropped to US$40.30 per barrel, $120 million was because of the government change in carbon credit policy, more than $500 million was from the sale of the SYD terminal assets, $200 million was directly as a result of the previous year’s write downs, and the balance of the “profit ” was as a result of firing 5,000 QF staff. Virtually nothing was due to the “incredible transformation program” that was put in place.
    I have to go to a meeting now, so for anyone who’s interested in the rest, I will continue shortly.

  • Wendy Cooke

    says:

    Good move for shareholders.

  • PB

    says:

    Joyce should go, not because the union says so but because he and his Chairman mate have been riding this for too long, and to their benefit , not the shareholders or employees. His prior manipulation where he and the Chairman wrote off all assets, cratering the share price, rewarded Joyce through low priced share options.
    He’s incompetent and manipulative and should be removed

  • Tim Williams

    says:

    Allan Joyce is probably one of the most shrewd corporate operators in the country; prior to Covid-19 he managed Qantas into a sound financial position, in fact is was one of the most profitable airlines in the world. Drastic times (now) call for drastic measures – trying to save money at present is possibly the only way to survival.
    It was fully expected that the TWU would come out with silly comments (he must resign etc.) over these proposed job sheddings – after all, at a time when unions are all but irrelevant, what else could they do!

    Keep going Allan Joyce, you are doing a fine job!

  • Vannus

    says:

    Kaine has a possible ‘personal vendetta’ against, & is s*&$$# at, QANTAS CEO Alan Joyce because AJ & the Board grounded the Airline due TWU organised strikes, usually daily, for THREE months’, August to October 2011.

    QANTAS call centre staff were being obscenely verbally abused, & ground staff were being physically attacked. That could NOT continue, so AJ & Board took appropriate action.

    Up until 27/2/2020, QANTAS had made a PROFIT of $772 MILLION, & was on track to deliver yet another prosperous FY to June 2020, which it has done for the last several years’ under AJ’s guidance.

    Then the pandemic hit & all Aviation was stopped.

    It was not of AJ’s causing.

    QANTAS doesn’t need the Country’s PM intervening whatsoever. JobKeeper monies’ have been paid to staff, as is correct.

    I know who should ‘resign’, & it’s NOT AJ & the QANTAS Board.

    • Hilton CONROY

      says:

      I hope people realise the truth.. AJ is NOT the financial redeemer of Qantas … And never has been. Target he is a “3 card trick CEO” who has fooled a lot of people.
      It would serve him right if workers refused to fuel QF aircraft. AJ is a corporate thug with no social conscience.
      I hope the ACCC protects Alliance from a QF raid on its shares and REX is able to grow into a real mainline competitor to Qantas.

  • Davo

    says:

    Whether you love or hate Alan Joyce, just remember ground handing will still be done by Australians on the ground at the airports – it’s not like the jobs are going overseas. The workers just wont be employed by Qantas, and probably not members of the TWU. Joyce is using the pandemic to make changes he otherwise wouldn’t have been able to do, good or bad.

  • Graham

    says:

    Yes , MUST GO. I will not use Qantas as long as he has anything to do with the Airline.
    OVER PAID as well

  • Blamps

    says:

    Its good business to “never waste a crisis”. The lurks and perks obtained by union blackmail over the years can be terminated and the work force re-hired under new contracts. While I don’t like Joyce, this action is good business practice.

  • neil

    says:

    If there’s no international flights happening for Qantas how can they keep staff.

  • Bruce Isaacs

    says:

    Bloody unions are so out of touch-Alan Joyce has no option. When you are operating at 10-20% capacity you have no option but to do what Joyce did-especially when you are losing money each month.
    Unions just don’t get it they(the airlines) can’t keep flying if they don’t take action or else you will have no airlines flying in Australia. I didn’t see this official complaining when Virgin dismissed staff as they go about resurrecting their airline.

  • Edward

    says:

    To Max above…….

    QANTAS CEO Alan Joyce IS an Australian citizen, & has been for years’.
    Oh! & he’s responsible for turning around the airline’s financials’ for several years’ in a row now.

  • TJ

    says:

    Simplistic….. I go to work and thus get paid. If there is no job I don’t expect to be paid. I enroll in job seeker or whatever, not sit and bitch about who’s fault and jump up and down wanting my boss sacked. Join the line with many others. Company goes bust I go get another job. Virgin creditors and shareholders such as big and small will get squat. We should not judge things on the basis of today’s going ons. Small or big, family or friends, we are all trying to survive into new future in air travel.

  • Warwick

    says:

    Hello Adam……

    Maybe the latest possible sackings weren’t envisaged when the larger number was promulgated.
    Contracts’ run out by now?
    Could be other reasons’ as well, which will become known, in time.

    Because of pandemic, everything in the whole wide-world is topsy-turvy, & unfortunately, will be for at least a decade.

  • Ambrose

    says:

    To Graham above…….

    I’m sure QANTAS will get along just fine without YOUR being a passenger.
    What a knee-jerk, & stupid reaction by you.
    Let’s hope you stick to your guns’ when a relative gets ill, & you’ve got to get to them, in a hurry.

  • Alan

    says:

    Worst CEO ever? Never! That moniker belongs to Geoff Dixon who, with Chair Jackson and a board and management team of grifters, almost sold the show to privateers. Had that been successful, there would now be no Qantas to squabble over.

  • John Holdsworth Holdsworth

    says:

    Do most of the commentators not understand what Alan Joyce’s job is?
    His job and the job of the board of directors is very simple, he is required by company law to operate the company so as to maximise its profitability and make the maximum return to the Shareholders.
    Nowhere in company law does it say he needs to be a nice man and considerate to his workforce.
    He is required to abide by all laws pertaining to pay and employment conditions and operate the company in good faith abiding by all laws that apply to the comany for which he works. End of story.
    I do not like Alan Joyce, in actual fact I detest him and would and do pay the same or more to travel with other airlines unless it is impossible to get to where I need to be any other way.
    I suggest you all calm down and wait for the present situation to clear itself and then take out your dislike/hatred on Alan Joyce and Qantas and travel with ANY other airline available for the trip you intend to take.
    Remember neither Alan nor Qantas wanted Covid 19 to happen, it just did and there is nothging that they can do about it.
    Take out your bile on ALL of the Premiers and Chief Ministers of the States and Territories (except Berijiklian in NSW) who have closed down virtually all domestic airline traffic. Qantas MUST survive, that is Alan Joyce’s job and he will do whatever he can to ensure it does, ultimately if necessary he will need to sack himself if push comes to shove.
    I don’t like it either but HE HAS NO CHOICE in the matter legally or morally.

  • Simon

    says:

    It never surprises me when the going gets tough…the tough gets whining. TWU who do you Represent??? The workers? Yourselves??? The general public???. I’m not sure who you represent. You take your role fir granted. Who is running the company. You corner the CEO back in 2011 that forced him to ground the entire business now you’re corner him again in an environment that is truly out of AJ’s hands and the government. You see no rhyme or reason. It is with great sadness that it has come to this. TWU, would you prefer an airline company thrive to the next level after this pandemic or would you prefer to see an airline going bankrupt. It seems its a one sided scenario. Didn’t qantas almost went bankrupt before AJ took the top job. At the end of the day nobody likes the outcome of this trying times.

  • Nate

    says:

    To Alan, above of 1:19pm, 26/8/2020………

    I wholeheartedly agree with you!
    Dixon was the most useless of all QANTAS CEO’s, & as you say, nearly lost the Company totally.

    AJ, by comparison, is the best. He’s got several Degrees’, knows what he’s doing, & is steering the Company through the most hellish time in its’ 100 year history.

    Keep on this ‘flight path’ Alan & the Board, & times ahead will get better!

  • Dale

    says:

    I bet Allan Joyce hasn’t taken a pay cut from his $500,000.00 a week pay packet

  • Ted

    says:

    To Dale above….

    Yes, he has!

    QANTAS CEO Alan Joyce is taking a 65% cut to his salary until 30-11-2020.
    The other executives’ are taking a cut to theirs’ of 85% until 30-11-2020.
    This is in ADDITION to the cuts they’d all taken previously, from March until 30-6-2020.

    Maybe you should keep up with the news, before commenting, as this information was announced TWO days’ ago!

  • Michael Landers

    says:

    This has become Alan Joyce’s interpretation of “Spirit of Australia”… he has forgotten about the people that made this airline an Icon, sold them out like a character in George Orwell’s Animal Farm. You have lost your way Alan , time for you to go.

  • Peter

    says:

    Take TT as example. Aero Care then Swissport. They couldnt care a less at ports. Saying they dont work at TT but wear uniform.. Their allowing overeight baggage was ignored. Now my port is AVV all staff are excellant. They lived local and were friends to their pax.
    This wont happen if outsourced.
    Alan Joyce should consider his income and think of the loyal staff. Qf/JQ will lose their credibiity. Use both and am happy with the attention and help I receive from both. Appreciate in flight service is not like 20yrs ago but fares are so cheap now.

  • Peter

    says:

    Where is my comment?

  • Leo

    says:

    Is there a reason the handlers can’t get a job with the companies where Qantas outsources?

  • APL

    says:

    Dale you would be wrong! All executive level pay has been cut 85%. The unions are a pathetic dinosaur that are no longer relevant! This isn’t the 1920’s. People saying ‘I’ll never fly them again’ are just as pathetic! Who are you going to fly when you need to get to a injured or dying family member and can’t get on any other airline? Without AJ there would be no airline to employ people! Morons think out of the box!

  • Paul Saxby

    says:

    Corporate theft has no conscience. Joyce has no loyalty to Australia and he will no doubt take his impending multi million dollar severance package with him back overseas without a hint of guilt. People’s lives mean less to him than profits and shareholder gains. Morrison has aided and abetted this and he will ultimately also be held to account when the duped masses wake up to his scam. By the he will have organised a parachute in the corporate sector with his parasitical cohorts.

  • Marum

    says:

    @Dale… Report from NZ Herald also in other papers.. Quote:

    Chief executive of coronavirus-hit Qantas Alan Joyce is giving up his salary for the rest of the financial year.
    Joyce’s total remuneration last year was A$23.8m ($24.8m) although his base salary was A$2.17m. His salary sacrifice is one of a range of sweeping measures including pay being slashed for other executives and 23 per cent capacity cuts across Qantas and Jetstar for the next six months. How soon we forget.

    I am an engineering bloke, who generally relies on empirical data, plus a sound knowledge of theory. However in a long life, C(76 years)I have never known any amount of provable data to ever alter a highly cherished opinion. If you were to argue that AJ’s normal salary is excessive …..That is a Flying Kangaru of another colour. (Lousy pun there)

    Regards….Marum Katze.

  • PeteO

    says:

    AJ is doing an outstanding job steering through this crisis.
    The TWU, remember, grounded Jetstar just prior to Christmas….and they thought they would get away with it.
    Astute management would remove the TWU threat and they have, that’s why AJ gets paid to protect the airline from thugs.

  • Bill Oreally

    says:

    Joyce is a disgrace to my grandmother’s clan from the old country. He is nothing but a facile, vacuous, avarice driven, self serving narcissist. He has NOT saved QF’s financial side, merely free loaded on down side oil prices, fired thousands of working people while sitting sipping champagne in his penthouse, with his ilk. All the while pocketing extraordinarily exorbitant income, dismissing thousands of loyal workers, and acting like the small pie face man he is.

  • Jack Chomley

    says:

    Well, the Govt of the day sold the ‘Peoples Airline’ and look at the mess now. Private enterprise got its hands in the till with massive pay levels for the top brass who will willingly throw their workers to the dogs, when it suits.
    And that time is sadly here, now……

  • Joe Blogs

    says:

    The TWU is just a joke. COVID has highlighted just how capricious aviation is and Joyce had to make a decision to keep a majority of staff employed over sending the company into administration with the potential for many thousands more job losses. Why don’t Unions ever say that?
    Facts are that Qantas is not flying any international routes and domestic is at 25% tops. Every flight is running at a loss, but the unions think fairy’s and magic dust keep businesses in operation.
    I love flying Qantas and think Joyce is doing a great job – although food on domestic could be better, but I’ll still keep flying with them.

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