Workers to hit back at Qantas over bid rejection

Qantas workers involved in the in-house bid for their jobs will today hit back at the airline’s claims that their bid failed to meet set criteria. The worker response follows Qantas’s rejection of their bid this week, pushing 2,500 workers out the door.

TWU National Secretary Michael Kaine said workers were angry at how Qantas has portrayed the bid they put together for their own jobs.

“Workers have spent the last three months working out cost-savings and ways that they could make their work more streamlined and efficient. They identified Qantas’s inefficient rostering which has been done centrally but which doesn’t take into account systems specific to each airport. They have suggested cross-utilisation, so that workers can be deployed across the airport between the ramp work on the tarmac and in the bag room. They worked closely with EY to put in a bid that was cheaper than the average bids from outside agencies. They are utterly baffled that Qantas would say their bid failed on cost because they have seen the figures and they know otherwise,” he said.

“It is clear that Qantas put goalposts up in a way to make sure its workers couldn’t play the game. They have a clause in their enterprise agreement which meant they had to allow workers to put in a bid for their jobs but in reality they had no intention of ever awarding it to its workers. Its intention from the start was to push these workers out the door, despite the time and money it has invested in training them up. We have serious questions about whether the same rigour of questioning and scrutiny has been applied to the outside agencies which Qantas has awarded the work to. Certainly none of the other bidders has had to endure Qantas’s public insults and criticism of their bid,” he added.

Qantas announced this week it was outsourcing over 2,000 baggage, ramp and cleaning workers, rejecting the competitive bid submitted which found millions of dollars in savings. Qantas has already outsourced over 400 Jetstar workers.

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.

Qantas announced scandal-ridden Swissport would get a major portion of the outsourced work. Swissport has failed over almost five years to get a new enterprise agreement in place, with the Fair Work Commission rejecting successive deals because they do not meet minimum standards. Swissport are back in the Commission today and yesterday trying to get approval for another substandard agreement.

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. Qantaswas 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.

/Public Release. The material in this public release comes from the originating organization and may be of a point-in-time nature, edited for clarity, style and length. View in full here.