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Qantas exec hits out at ‘scaremongering’ unions in op-ed

written by Adam Thorn | July 18, 2022

A Qantas 787-9, VH-ZNK, at Dallas Fort Worth airport

Qantas’ head of domestic and international operations, Andrew David, has attacked “scaremongering” unions and insisted the airline’s current problems are not a result of outsourcing roles.

In an op-ed published at the weekend, David admitted the airline is “absolutely not delivering” on service but argued its problems are being replicated around the world.

In 2022, Qantas has faced a string of problems, including huge delays at Easter, hours-long call wait times, and even a revelation that the cabin crew of a Qantas A330 were made to sleep across seats in economy. Last year, the Federal Court ruled the Flying Kangaroo was wrong to outsource 2,000 ground handling roles and subsequently rejected an initial appeal.

However, David — Qantas’ Domestic and International CEO — wrote on Sunday there have been a “number of factors” that have led to its problems.

“Restarting an airline after a two-year grounding is complex and aviation labour markets, as with many others, are extremely tight,” he said. “Compounding that is the fact that COVID-19 cases are steeply on the rise again at the same time as the winter flu season.


“Some have pointed to Qantas’ decision to outsource ground handling as a key reason the restart has been hard. This is not true. We had completed the ground handling changes before Easter 2021 when domestic travel was back to almost 100 per cent, and we didn’t have the issues we had at Easter this year.

“Others are using scaremongering tactics by making safety claims that are baseless and simply false. Every supplier we work with must adhere to our strict safety management system — a system that sees us consistently rated with the safest airlines in the world.

“Sadly, this is not the first time false claims have been made by a union to further an industrial agenda. The truth is that the difficulties we are facing now are because of COVID and flu related sickness, as well as an extremely tight labour market.”

Australian Aviation is publishing the full op-ed here.

It came as the TWU attacked David personally for being awarded a bonus in shares, alongside other executives.

TWU National Secretary Michael Kaine called the grant the “epitome of management under Alan Joyce”.

“Qantas’ performance has plummeted following the illegal sackings of nearly 2,000 skilled groundworkers,” said Kaine. “One month after a second Federal Court ruling that the outsourcing broke the law, the person the court found responsible for the illegal decision, Andrew David, was awarded a bonus over $1.1 million when he should have been sacked.

“This is a sickening betrayal to illegally sacked workers, disrupted passengers, and Australian taxpayers whose support propped up the airline while executives made cruel decisions that destroyed lives.

“Qantas executives have turned a once cherished airline into a national disgrace, and Alan Joyce is paying out rewards.”

Qantas denies any wrongdoing over outsourcing, and has filed a new appeal in Australia’s High Court.

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Comments (9)

  • Colin


    Anyone can make false claims but the unions need to understand if they continue to destroy Qantas reputation with false information just because it suits there agenda, they will go bust and everyone could be out of a job. Imagine that. Oopsy I don’t think we need to imagine that we only have to go back in history and remember what unions did to Ansett. The unions won but everyone lost their jobs.

    • Vannus


      So true, Colin.

      The TWU is still smarting from the QANTAS fleet grounding, end of Oct 2011.
      This happened because of daily strikes’ by TWU members’ employed by the Company, from beginning of Aug 2011.
      QANTAS was losing one MILLION $ each day of that strike. No company can afford that.

      Did the TWU care? Not one jot.
      No wonder the airline got rid of its’ GH section, as they were the ones’ who struck, as ordered by the TWU.
      They reaped what they sowed.

      Our National Carrier had to do something drastic to stop this situation.
      It’s staff were being physically, & verbally attacked by disgruntled passengers’, at the airports’, & travel centres’ where police had to guard the doors.
      Its’ call centre staff were being obscenely, verbally abused.

      The brainless TWU never knew what hit them with the fleet grounding.
      It stopped them in their tracks for ten years’, now they’re starting to be pains in the @#$* to QANTAS, yet again.

      • Rocket


        @ Vannus,

        Yes, spot on. They made hay while the sun shone all those years and never thought the world would change. I knew some great people in GH but there were some that would go on strike, on one occasion many years ago, to protect a thief who, with someone in the CS department was extorting money out of passengers to waive excess baggage. Maybe an isolated incident but can you really imagine the ASU going on strike to save the job of someone who stole from the company?? Come to think of it, can you imagine Pilots withdrawing their labour if one of their own was opening the bar-cart and removing the cash??
        Of course not, but the TWU have always thought themselves a law unto themselves.
        The current difficulties, which are worldwide, not just Qantas, will eventually recede and the TWU still won’t get the jobs back. Future generations of QF will be thankful for the day that boil was lanced.

  • Truthful


    This is a total lie from again from the executive’s due to most these claims come from current staff not unions.
    Plus why do they now send staff overseas to be trained. That is at a cost to the person being trained due to no accommodation supplied, food plus all the other expenses for the course they specify to be one of their staff.

    • Rocket


      You want to throw those sort of baseless allegations around, you better have the facts to back it up.

  • Tony Castro


    Everytime I have flown with Qantas in the past 2 and a half weeks, I have had flights delayed, changed to another day and waiting up to 35 minutes for luggage. How much longer can Qantas keep blaming COVID-19 and the flu for their issues. How about you follow the court ruling and employ the ground staff they sacked. Only one person needs to go – Alan Joyce!!!

    • Ashley


      The Court did NOT rule that the so-called redundant GH staff had to be re-employed, Tony.
      Re-read the transcripts’.

      What you’ve experienced, is happening with EVERY airline world-wide. It’s certainly not only QANTAS.

      QANTAS CEO Mr Alan Joyce, is the best CEO the Company has had in a long time.
      He’s doing what has to be done to keep the Company SOLVENT!

      The ramifications’ for this Country, if QANTAS was lost, would be astronomical.
      Not only would 20-25,000 of its’ people be out of work, so too, all the businesses’ which deal with our National Carrier on a daily basis, worth millions’ $ annually to them.

      The humanitarian, & Defence roles’ QANTAS is part of for Australia, is huge.

      So before you denigrate the man responsible for keeping QANTAS aloft, think about these words.

    • Rocket


      As long as Virgin keep doing it too. My daughters flew on VA in Business Class in May. They were at the airport on time and were told it was bad luck and their flight had been cancelled but they might get them on a flight tomorrow.

      They were Business Class passengers. I bought the tickets, they are not cheap.

      They ended up getting back after midnight on the day of their flight but they had to fly deep into Queensland from Sydney in order to run and nearly have a heart attack to a tight connection to Melbourne so let’s not hear any Qantas bashing unless it’s evened up by the incompetence of the other mob – it’s well know even before Covid that VA are hopeless at disruption management.

      Also, before Covid, my neighbours flew on VA and they had all their contact details yet they turned up on time at Perth Airport to be told their flight was delayed 7 hours, then it was cancelled and they were put on a flight overnight to Sydney and were ASSURED that the people in Sydney at VA knew all about them and they’d be met on arrival – this was not just my neighbours but 100+ others that were on the same flight – and they would virtually ‘walk across the concourse to the new gate for their flight to Melbourne.

      Guess what?? Land in Sydney at 0630 the next morning and no one had a damn clue who they were, what had happened and it took them until after midday to get a flight to Melbourne.

  • Chopsus Maximus



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