- The Guardian
- Issue #2024
Throughout the pandemic Qantas CEO Alan Joyce has consistently proven himself to be the walking embodiment of corporate greed.
Alan Joyce took in $5,575,000 – an increase of $287,000 from last year’s paycheque – despite the national carrier’s infamous issues with customer service, baggage, and flight schedules, and more.
According to Joyce, these issues are a result of labour shortages and COVID-19-related illnesses that are affecting the whole aviation industry: “This is nobody’s fault. It’s not our staff’s fault, it’s not the airport’s fault, it’s not the airline’s fault. It’s just dealing with this aftermath of coming out of COVID.”
However, it is obvious what has been at the heart of the airline’s problems: its cost-cutting measures and anti-union stance.
Following the pandemic, Qantas announced it would retrench 1700 ground staff at major Australian airports, deciding to outsource the work to contractors, which it anticipated would provide $100 million in savings a year. The result of this strategy has been on public display, embarrassing Joyce to the point where he has offered Qantas customers $50 “apology” vouchers – but this “offering” has not put the carrier back in anyone’s good graces.
These issues have escalated, prompting a Four Corners investigation highlighting the shocking culture Qantas corporate has inflicted on its’ staff.
Former Qantas loading supervisor and Transport Workers’ Union (TWU) delegate Don Dixon – a fixture at the airline for twenty years – explained to Four Corners why the Qantas pains were a result of qualified labour cuts and not COVID-19:
“When I started, my supervisor had twenty years experience already, he showed me this is what you do in this position when a machine breaks down, this is what you do when a machine doesn’t work properly, all these things you don’t learn from a book or in training. That experience is invaluable, you can’t buy that. Now, these young people coming in now haven’t got that.”
Speaking to about Joyce had ruined a once reputable career opportunity, Union TWU Assistant National Secretary Nick McIntosh told On the Job that:
“I don’t think people are going to forget that this is a guy who throughout the fifteen years, but particularly the last two years, has destroyed what were once secure, well-paid, sought-after jobs. … He has turned them into jobs that don’t guarantee hours, provide only the minimum statutory rates of pay, and workers don’t know what their roster is for any given week.”
It is an absolute disgrace what Joyce has done to Qantas and its workers, many of whom have dedicated their lives to the company. Joyce’s treatment of these workers indicates that he does not care about Australians but only the shareholders who have paid him a pretty penny.