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Issue #1536      22 February 2012

More jobs to go as Qantas wields the axe

Qantas has announced that it is axing 500 jobs from various locations. These operational and support roles are vital to maintaining smooth passenger services and support for various maintenance functions, and will impact on the quality of Qantas’ overall service.

Victoria will be the hardest hit by the job losses, with the majority of job cuts likely to be white collar jobs at the Tullamarine maintenance base.

The Australian Services Union (ASU) has condemned Qantas’ announcement of job cuts as unnecessary and short-sighted, sacrificing livelihoods and the long-term efficiency of the airline for short-term cost-cutting.

Denying Qantas management’s claim that the job cuts are necessary, the union pointed to:

  • Profit of $202 million in the half-year to 31 December, despite the damage to the brand caused by management’s decision to ground the airline.
  • Eight percent increase in passenger traffic at Melbourne airport, or 2 million more passengers assisted by customer service staff, reflected in increased passenger revenue for the half-year.
  • Continuing high performance, quality of service and improved staff efficiency.

“This business success reflects the efforts of Qantas workers to improve efficiency and quality of service,” said Victorian ASU branch secretary Ingrid Stitt.

“These workers have contributed to sustained profits, but still they’re being thrown to the dogs by Qantas. This is clearly not about efficiency. It’s not about growing a sustainable business, because our members are doing that, and they’re being punished for it. It’s about Qantas executives in a determined effort to shift the economic benefit of the national carrier out of Victoria.”

The ASU also pointed to the lack of action by the Victorian government in the loss of more jobs from Qantas’ Victorian operations.

“[Premier] Mr Baillieu said the other day - before any workers had been told that they might lose their jobs - that he doesn’t want to get involved because it’s a matter for Qantas bosses to do as they wish. Well I think most Victorians do expect government to take action to protect jobs and the Victorian economy,” said Ms Stitt.

The ASU will be seeking urgent meetings with Qantas management.  

Next article – Our uranium fuelled Fukushima

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