Union urges states to set strict conditions for Qantas hq move

The TWU is writing to all state and territory premiers urging them to set strict conditions on labour standards and outsourcing before offering any financial incentives for Qantas to move its headquarters.

The call comes as Qantas announces it intends to move its headquarters from Mascot in Sydney and confirms it will shop around for the best financial incentives from states to relocate.

TWU National Secretary Michael Kaine said $800 million in public money from the Federal Government had already been misused by Qantas management and that the states should not make the same mistake.

“Qantas management should not get another cent of Australian taxpayers’ money federally or at state level unless it agrees to strict conditions on safety, security and labour standards and agrees to halt its plans to axe and outsource 2,500 workers. There is no benefit to the public if they are providing funding to an airline which intends to use the cloak of the pandemic to kill its workers’ jobs so it can bring in workers on lower rates and conditions. There certainly is not benefit it the public if it means safety and security standards are dragged down so that money can instead be used to line the pockets of Qantas management and wealthy shareholders,” he said.

“We are writing to the states today urging them to provide incentives for Qantas only when the airline agrees to respect standards and shelve outsourcing plans. Qantas is refusing to act like a responsible employer and has violated the spirit of Jobkeeper and other public financial supports. It has used the opportunity that the pandemic crisis has presented and taken out a 10-year old plan to axe and outsource the jobs of 2,500 workers. Qantas management must be held to account over its misuse of taxpayers’ money and its attempts to confuse the public over what it is really doing,” Kaine added.

The TWU has begun legal proceedings against Qantas over the outsourcing with the Fair Work Commission hearing the case on Thursday. The TWU has also engaged Ernst & Young to assist with assessing the conditions and criteria Qantas has set to for workers to bid for their own jobs.

On Friday Qantas workers delivered a letter to Qantas CEO Alan Joyce asking him not to outsource their jobs.

The public and politicians are being asked to sign a petition to the Qantas board: https://actionnetwork.org/petitions/save-qantas-jobs/

In documents to workers, Qantas has given workers until October 9 to make a final bid and to find $100 million labour cost savings and $80 million to fund equipment upgrades, despite the airline choosing not to do these upgrades when it made billions of dollars in profit, including $1.5 billion in profit in 2016, $1.4 billion in profit in 2017, $1.6 billion in profit in 2018 and $1.3 billion in profit in 2019.

When Qantas announced its CEO received $24 million pay package he was the highest paid CEO in Australia and the highest paid airline executive in the world.

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