‘dark day’ as Qantas rejects workers competitive bid for their jobs

Qantas has dealt a shocking blow to its 2,000 baggage, ramp and cleaning workers, rejecting a competitive bid submitted with the help of EY which found millions of dollars in savings.

Workers at 10 airports including Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, Adelaide, Darwin, Cairns, Townsville, Alice Springs and Canberra will lose their jobs, which will now be outsourced to workers on less wages and conditions.

TWU National Secretary said workers were devastated to hear Qantas has rejected their bid for their jobs.

“This is a dark day as Qantas management rejects a thorough and competitive bid by its highly skilled and dedicated workers to keep their own jobs. Qantas workers have worked hard over recent months with EY to find millions of dollars in cost savings and efficiencies. EY advised us our bid was competitive in comparison to other contractors. To reject its own workers like this is spiteful and will hurt the airline deeply,” he said.

“Qantas has spent hundreds of millions in training these workers up over decades to achieve high standards and the idea of pushing them out the door to replace them with less trained workers on lower conditions is sickening. Families across Australia are now facing a grim Christmas where the future lies at the end of a centrelink queue,” he said.

“To suggest this bid and its cost savings was ‘theoretical’ is an absolute insult to the time and effort which has been put in by workers. The reference to theoretical was the theoretical Qantas flying time schedule which all bids were based on,” Kaine said.

“Workers are angry at the Federal Government’s lack of intervention. It continues to pump millions of dollars into Qantas through wage supports and other financial assistance with no conditions attached. There is no benefit to the Australian community when taxpayers spend billions only to result in workers in good jobs being thrown on the scrap heap,” he added.

Jetstar’s ground operations has already been mostly outsourced to Swissport, a scandal-ridden ground handler which was exposed over workers sleeping at the airports. Swissport is back in the Fair Work Commission in an attempt to get approval for its latest substandard enterprise agreement which the Commission has already ruled does not meet minimum standards. The Fair Work Commission confirmed Swissport has been underpaying its workers for years. Swissport has also been exposed over lax standards on safety, service and security.

The Federal Government has given over a billion dollars to the aviation industry, including over a $800 million to Qantas, since the pandemic hit, with no conditions attached on retaining jobs or capping CEO salaries.

Qantas revealed in its annual report recently it is paying its senior executives millions of dollars. When Qantas announced last year its CEO received $24 million pay package he was the highest paid CEO in Australia and the highest paid airline executive in the world.

On Friday, sick Qantas workers were left devastated after the airline’s refusal to allow them to use the leave they built up over years was backed by the Federal Court. Qantas was found by the Federal Court previously to be misusing Jobkeeper, refusing to pay workers for the overtime and weekends they have worked.

The Senate recently passed a motion setting up an inquiry into the future of the aviation industry. It is expected to look at Government and industry failings to date and set out recommendations for support into the future.

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