QANTAS RESPONDS TO THE TRANSPORT WORKERS UNION’S CLAIMS

Published on 12th April 2021 at 12:14

UNION CLAIM – These specialist ground handlers are unsafe.

FACT – This is not true and ignores the fact they have been safely supporting Qantas’ operations (as well as other airlines) at airports around the country, in some cases for decades.

Earlier this year we completed to the transition to the new providers and there has been no change to our overall safety performance.

Outsourced ground handlers are required to abide by Qantas Group policies and procedures.

UNION CLAIM – Qantas is trying to avoid collective bargaining with the TWU.

FACT – This is not true. We still need to bargain with the TWU. For example, there are hundreds of employees Qantas Freight who remain employed under the same EBA as the affected ground handling employees.

UNION CLAIM – Specialist ground handlers are using old equipment that Qantas said needed to be replaced.

FACT – We estimated that we would have had to spend around $80 million over the next five years to modernise our aging ground handling equipment.

By outsourcing our ground handling operations we have avoided this capital expenditure.

Instead, we sold some of the equipment to the specialist suppliers to support the transition and under the terms of their agreements they are required to modernise their fleet so that it meets our average age requirement.

UNION CLAIM – Qantas has received large amounts of government support while at the same time unnecessarily sacked thousands of employees.

FACT – The majority of government support we’ve received has been through JobKeeper, which has been a lifeline for our employees who were stood down. We have fully complied with the spirit and purpose of JobKeeper – including recognising when jobs aren’t coming back and making those jobs redundant.

This includes the latest package from the Federal Government, which is providing direct support for around 7,500 employees directly impacted by continued international border closure, to help maintain capability

The rest of the government support was used to maintain critical domestic and international air services, and help boost the domestic tourism industry– which in turn generated paid work for our people.

UNION CLAIM – Qantas CEO Alan Joyce was paid $24 million last year and remains on a multi-million dollar salary.

FACT – The TWU knows this is inaccurate in several respects.

As the TWU knows, Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce decided to forgo his salary for four months in 2020 year (April-August), which contributed to an overall reduction in his pay by more than 80 per cent compared to the previous year. Other senior executives and Board directors also had zero wage/fees for three months. The Group CEO’s pay was around $1.7 million for FY20.

We note the TWU is silent about executive pay at other companies – including other Australian airlines – despite job losses at those companies. It reserves its criticism for the Qantas Group, ignoring the fact the national carrier has made deeper cuts on executive pay than any other major corporation in Australia.

Instead, the TWU quotes the Group CEO’s FY17 salary of $24 million. As explained at the time, the CEO’s pay in that year was driven by the Qantas share price increasing by more than 350 per cent (with bonuses mostly paid in company shares). The CEO’s pay more than halved the following year and has continued to fall.

Over this same period of time, Qantas paid hundreds of millions in discretionary bonuses for non-executive employees – one of the few major Australian companies to do so.