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TWU protests outside Alan Joyce’s home

written by Adam Thorn | September 11, 2020

TWU protest Alan Joyce home
The TWU protest against outsourcing jobs arrived at Alan Joyce’s home (TWU)

The TWU on Friday gathered outside Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce’s private home to protest against the airline’s proposal to outsource 2,500 ground handling jobs.

After union members addressed the press, they marched to Joyce’s apartment block to hand-deliver a letter asking him to immediately halt the potential job cuts.

The union’s campaign chief, Emily McMillan, said the dramatic action was necessary because “there’s no way else to communicate with him”.

Last month, Qantas announced thousands more jobs are at risk because the business is considering outsourcing its remaining ground handling operations, subject to hearing bids from both private contractors as well as in-house staff to do the work.

Speaking at the protest, the TWU’s national assistant secretary, Nick McIntosh, said, “Two weeks [ago] Alan Joyce sent a letter to the family [of] 2,500 workers telling them that their jobs were going to be outsourced. Today, workers are handing a letter back asking him to reconsider.

“These jobs aren’t being made redundant – they’re being replaced. Qantas appallingly is using the cover of COVID to come up with a plan they’ve had in the works for 10 years. Workers who have been here for decades and built the carrier up.”


The letter to Joyce itself said the decision to outsource was a “devastating blow” and a “travesty” for Australian aviation.

“We were there when the airline hit rock bottom in 2014 with billions of dollars in losses, pushed to the point of asking the federal government for a bailout,” it said. “When this bailout didn’t come we took the hit: 18-month wages freezes which continue to affect our pay and retirement outcomes to this day.

“We are asking for plans to outsource us to be halted immediately.”

Qantas’ proposal would see the airline brand 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.

However, before a final decision is made, it is giving staff the chance to compile an in-house bid to rival those made by external companies.

The TWU, though, is taking Qantas to the Fair Work Commission and arguing that employees haven’t been given enough time to their alternative proposal.

In a pre-hearing letter to Justice Iain Ross, seen by Australian Aviation, the union said employees have been given “no real opportunity” to compile a bid that has “any prospect of success”.

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

When the airline first announced the outsourcing plans, the TWU’s national secretary Michael Kaine sensationally called on Alan Joyce to resign and demanded Prime Minister Scott Morrison personally intervene.

“This is not shrewd management, it is economic violence,” said Kaine. “If Alan Joyce’s only plan is to wield the axe on thousands of loyal staff, he should resign.

“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.”

Comments (22)

  • Col


    Is it Australian aviations job to voice the opinion of Unions, Pull your heads in

  • Mike


    Talk about an invasion of privacy! What a shame they couldn’t ALL be arrested.

    That’s speaks volumes’ as to the idiocy of TWU protesters’.

    They’re so stupid, as doing that disgraceful action, could possible harden the resolve AGAINST them.
    But they haven’t the intelligence to realise that.


  • Henry


    It was Ansett or TAA’s bakers went on strike. “They can’t fly without bread rolls, give us more money”. This was the first Australian airline service to be outsourced.

  • Shane


    What about Jetstar CEO Gareth Evans. He had already outsourced my job…

  • Nicholas


    Union thugs.

    No wonder they have an appalling record.

  • john


    In my eyes, the TWU is irrelevant, and has been ever since “we will bake them slowly” comments they made in a previous dispute with QF.

  • John Phillips


    Let’s not forget the economic violence the TWU was pulling against QF when Joyce was forced to ground the fleet.

    Payback time? If QF can make huge savings by outsourcing, good luck to them.

    And presumably any private contractor would need staff; jus that the conditions at QF must be real feather bed stuff?.

  • Marum


    I have no liking for AJ. but going to his private residence is too much. When work is finished you “Shut The Hangar door”. What happens at work stays at work. I do note, that the union brought its usual complement of heavies.
    Who do these people think they are?


  • Marum


    @HENRY. What a great slogan. “They can’t fly without bread rolls.” I imagine that one would be in the dough, when that caught on.
    That is the main reason French Airlines serve croissants. For the French cannot pronounce “bwead woll”.


  • Ess Enn


    Banners and marches, so 20th Century. Everything is about $$$. So union leaders should be addressing shareholders to argue for the $$$ benefits of maintaining the existing workforce or proposing a better cost benefit model.
    CEOs don’t give a rat’s proverbial of the effects of their decisions on workers, they factor only the profits and losses and answer only to the almighty shareholders.
    Anyone care to realistically argue otherwise?
    PS I’m ex TWU 30 years membership and believe in the concept of “strength in numbers”

  • James


    Great idea guys…

  • Dale


    Sorry, you don’t go to someone’s home.

  • Rod Pickin


    Yesterday I questioned the relevance of the union movement in today’s market. Today we have an image that is a perception of “watch out AJ, the Bovver Boys are coming to get you” – as they say, not good optics, this is not 1920 and we don’t behave like that.

  • Paul


    Just provides Qantas with more information to move to the outsourcing model. Fair work Australia would not see this as positive. Keep going unions you are damaging your own cause.

  • Carole Lamming


    I believe that Mr Joyce has a moral right to KEEP jobs for Australian workers in Qantas and Jetstar. All company’s are hurting in this covid 19 time. It will take time and honour to do the right thing for all workers. Unfortunately shareholders will also take a hit but you have to take good and the bad. That’s the chance they take. So when company’s take money from government they should use it for the workers.

  • Brendan


    So Alan Joyce has come to the workforce and asked them to come up with ways to save money or he’ll outsource. Mind you pre COVID Qantas was one of the most profitable airlines around. Great work done by the staff I might ad .
    So whats his job??

    That sort of mentality shows he’s not very good at his job. “If we can’t compete, we’ll give up and give in”.
    Is that the sort of person you want running and Australian icon???

  • Brendan John Christie


    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.Mar 10, 2020

  • Kevin


    Check your history mate . See what unions have achieved in the past. Unions rely on members subscriptions. Alan Joyce and his Qantas management has taken public money to change their company. He is the bully .

  • Rolf Stockburger


    It’s time workers are represented at board level so responsibilities are shared and decisions are made in the best interest of all stakeholders. CEO’s and execs receive disproportioned remuneration and bonuses and the workers loose their jobs that’s old world, you’d think we have evolved and become more progressive and involve the key stakeholders when key decisions impacts them and their families dramatically.

  • Jay


    The only people that should pull their head’s in is the one sided union bashing comments here. At least they are taking a stand against CEO’s who make these decisions while recieving millions for it…

    First they came for the Jews
    and I did not speak out
    because I was not a Jew.

    Then they came for the Communists
    and I did not speak out
    because I was not a Communist.

    Then they came for the trade unionists
    and I did not speak out
    because I was not a trade unionist.

    Then they came for me
    and there was no one left
    to speak out for me.

  • Dave


    wouldn’t they just end up working for whoever the work is contracted to?
    Its not as if the labour isn’t required any more.

  • Peter


    Its seems a peaceful protest, not like the ones in Mel. That is offensive to me blocking my space and right of way. Now do you know that outsourcing ground staff is detremental. to pax. They may wear the carriers colours but realy are bad when approached. Swissport and Aero-care are a good examples

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