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Joyce hints at more cuts in Qantas report

written by Adam Thorn | September 18, 2020
Qantas and Jetstar planes cross paths (Victor Pody)

Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce appeared to hint more jobs could be lost in his foreword to the business’ annual report.

“For not the first time in our history, we need to reinvent how we do things, which will result in more difficult decisions to ultimately protect the company’s future,” said Joyce.

The document, released to the ASX on Friday, also revealed the business’ most senior executive saw his take-home pay drop three-quarters to $1.7 million.

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The news came weeks after the airline announced 2,500 ground handling jobs could be lost in addition to the 6,000 jobs across the business already earmarked for cuts.

Joyce reiterated that more big change was to come as the airline restructures for a post-coronavirus world.

“The impact of this crisis means the Qantas Group will be smaller for some time to come,” wrote Joyce. “The markets we operate in will be different. And we’ll need to rebuild our balance sheet.

“Seeing so many people leave this organisation, and many more stood down from the jobs they love, has been the hardest part of this crisis. We continue to offer them as much support as we can.

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“One positive is the feedback from other companies that have offered secondary employment, who describe the incredible professionalism and resilience of Qantas and Jetstar people. That spirit runs throughout the group and it’s what will help us recover.

“This company was founded 100 years ago in the wake of a world war and a devastating pandemic. We know that things will improve, and that the Qantas Group will thrive when it does.”

Qantas is currently at loggerheads with the TWU, which has taken the business to the Fair Work Commission over its proposal to outsource ground handling operations.

On Thursday, the union presented a report to the commission by Ernst & Young that argued those bidding to keep their jobs weren’t being given a realistic chance of success.

The union commissioned the professional services firm to assess the competitive process and it concluded Qantas management needs to give staff more information on cost savings and provide an assessment on how it will maintain standards if it cuts costs.

Qantas has repeatedly denied the claims and said in response that the TWU is “misrepresenting the situation”, “misleading its members” and will “vigorously defend” the union’s claims.

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7 Comments

  • Paul

    says:

    Until this debacle of border closures is over there will continue in transportation and tourism more and more job losses. Joyce is right, and Virgin will follow.

  • Tony Griggs

    says:

    The longer the recalcitrant state Premiers keep borders closed (unnecessarily), the more people will be out of work. The TWU would do well do start ratcheting up pressure on its Labor party apparatchiks to get the economy going otherwise Australia us in real danger of losing everything it’s worked hard to achieve since the Second World War. I have never particularly liked Alan Joyce, but he is doing what is necessary to protect one of Australia’s biggest companies. Whilst politicians sit idle, borders closed, tens of thousands of jobs a week will go, many in the aviation sector. Sit idle and don’t do anything at your peril!

  • Lawrence

    says:

    Who’d have thought that the ‘Flying Kangaroo’ could be brought to such a parlous state as it now finds itself in?
    Drastic times call for drastic actions, the like of which Australian, & the rest of the world, businesses’ have never experienced before.
    Aviation has had a massive seismic shift, & it will take a minimum of a decade to recover.
    What a sad time for us all.

  • Steve A

    says:

    Sad. This man has single-handedly been destroying Qantas. He nearly did it in 2014, and Qantas is in grave danger once again under his (poor) leadership and decision-making. yes, people already know that I am not a Joycite.
    People say that it is not his fault, the Corona virus, and of course it isn’t. But, it is just another convenient scapegoat to cover up his poor management. Qantas hasn’t been run well, ever since he arrived. Cash conservation is very important right now, but so is developing a way forward, a plan for the future.
    He’s like a nightmare, going around pinging off groups of QF staff that he can get rid of. What about re-looking at the situation, and instead saying how can I get Qantas to an even lower point than he had it in 2014, what about a plan to advance Qantas into the future.
    But, he doesn’t have one clue on how to do this. So, if Qantas shareholders are sick and tired of being used and abused, if Qantas staff are sick and tired of being the kicked and abused, if Qantas customers are sick and tired of flying around in geriatric aircraft, and if the Qantas Board can finally realise that AJ is not the future of Qantas, then they can come and see me and look at my plan for the future of Qantas. It’s based upon my 2012 plan for my Australia International Airlines, but has changed slightly to accommodate changes in the market place. It’s free for them to see (provided safe guards are put in place for me). It will see Qantas operations and focus change dramatically.
    And, similarly, it would work very well for Virgin too. If they want to see how they can become the dominant force in Australian aviation within the next few years, then they can look at it for nothing too (once again with appropriate safe guards put in place for me). Virgin won’t be more than a pain in the side for Qantas with its current plans, so it really needs to change strategies fast.
    I have sent plans to two Liberal PM’s on setting up a Federally-owned airline because both QF and VA have not been run in the best interests of the Australian economy, Australian jobs, Australian Regional economies, Australian tourism, Northern Australia, or even their own shareholders, staff and customers.
    All of my concerns from 2012, and again in 2014 and 2016, have come to fruition. It’s time for Australia to actually take back control of its aviation industry, and jobs, and tourism, instead of letting it amble along aimlessly in the hands of people who don’t have a clue, and who put making big bonuses before Australia’s needs.

  • Pete A

    says:

    Steve A …Mate why don’t you start your own airline? If your plan is so good I am sure investors will throw money at you…

  • Paul

    says:

    QF will continue to cut no matter what the unions say or do. Joyce is unforgiving in character and whoever he works for. The Qantas board choose the CEO so blame them if you don’t like him. Virgin with Bain at the helm are also going to cut and cut in a hostile environment for travel. The entire industry is decimated and only cost savings on a huge scale will salvage the few jobs left. If you keep your job count yourself lucky, very lucky.

  • D

    says:

    I had/have my apprehensions about AJ also. Decisions made in the past have caused much scrutiny and discussion, but very few have come up with alternatives and are quick to critisise his and the boards decisions. Obviously, being the face of the airline he has to bear the brunt of all opinions, but I can’t see many others doing a much better job. Apart from his pay packet (don’t hate the player, hate the game), which is excessive, even in good times, I can not fault many of the decisions and direction he has brought the airline in. Out of many CEO’s, I think he has one of the most challenging roles in an industry which is the first to be impacted by ANY domestic/international crisis whether it be financial, health or general sentiment. Aviation is such a fragile industry that can be going gang busters one day and then flipped on its head the next. Although, I would love his pay packet, I can honestly say that I don’t think I would enjoy his role if it was me and am happy for him to take the reins. Obviously, he and the board are human and I don’t disagree that potentially better decisions could have been made in the past (hindsight is great isn’t it?), but overall given the agile and dynamic nature of aviation, time and full analysation of conditions are not always possible and decisions need to be made on the fly. To this degree, I have come to respect his decisions as I believe that they are in the interest of keeping the airline afloat and think that over time, he, as I am sure many long term CEO’s do, embrace the company that they lead which becomes part of who they are. He could have left at any of these ‘hard’ times and gone and retired on an island for life or gone to a much easier role, but something more than that has made him want to get ‘his’ company out of the bad times and back to the skies where they belong. I am not a ‘Joycite’ as I think it’s called, but will admit that I have warmed to him over the years. There are a lot of armchair critics out there who are quick to attack, but under tough circumstances there are tough decisions made that most people (especially those effected) will not like and understandably critisise, but at the end of the day if Qantas is here in another 100 years, even the most critical would have to acknowledge that all his decisions could not have been that bad. Alternatively, if the company does not survive, I don’t think that it would be his fault alone as I am sure many external factors would have to come together for that to happen. So, in that light, with the current environment as is, I don’t think the challenges could get too much worse that this, and therefore if the company emerges out of this still strong, I think he and his team deserve any praise they are given….. (but we all know there will be none coming, as people only like to see the negative….. that is life)
    Just remember this, it would have been Joyce or Borghetti, I know which one I prefer….. in hindsight. 🙂

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