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Issue #1930      August 31, 2020

Qantas must put people before profit

Statement by Australian Services Union

Qantas management’s decision to bank a $124 million profit instead of paying workers for money owed to them shows even in a pandemic, people come second to profit at Australia’s biggest airline.

Qantas has refused to pay approximately 6000 workers between $1500 (part-time workers) and $2000 (full-time workers) owed to them.

The airline announced the cash payment to workers in 2018 to much media fanfare after handing down a record-high profit in that year.

Australian Services Union Assistant National Secretary Linda White said while management would downplay a $124 million profit in 2019-20, the number was an insult to Qantas workers struggling to put food on the table who have still not been paid what they’re owed.

“Qantas lapped up the PR when it announced these payments but many workers are still waiting,” White said.

“Qantas says the business is battling but they’re clearly doing better than their workers.

“$124 million is a big number for someone who is owed $1500 by the company.

“For someone who has received very little income and has debts accumulating, $1,500 or $2,000 can be the difference between getting food on the table or paying your mobile phone bill.

“Qantas tells the market they’re highly profitable and then in the same breath cries poor to its workers – its two faced and unethical.

“Announcing a $124 million profit while still withholding money from workers who can’t even pay the rent is just plain wrong.”

White said Qantas workers had done everything in their power to help the company stay on its feet and deserved loyalty and fair treatment in return.

“Qantas workers have borne the brunt of the economic impact of the pandemic and have bent over backwards to help the company get through this. Qantas workers don’t just understand financial hardship, they are living it”

“They’ve agreed to shift changes, variation to their duties and some have not worked at all since March because they’re committed to the company’s long-term success.

“The loyalty of Qantas workers should be reciprocated by the company, but that is not what we’re seeing here.

“We’re calling on Qantas to put its hand into its giant $124 million wallet to pay workers what they are owed.

“The amount owed to workers is a fraction of the profit result – it is time to pay workers what they are owed.”

Next article – RAHU statement on eviction moratorium

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