Here's some interesting stuff about QANTAS that i've heard from my Dad (who's a baggage handler) and a pilot (who i won't name for the sake that someone might actually get mad at him).
The pilot are striking because QANTAS is claiming that flights to London and Singapore are not getting enough passengers, when in reality they’re generally the fullest and they’ve already organised to have jetstar take over the cut flights which is why the pilots are striking for jetstar pilots to get the same pay, so then qantas can’t do that to them.
The reason the ‘negotiations’ aren’t going anywhere is because the unions don’t want Qantas turned into a low cost Asia based airline, cut up and destroyed and an Australian icon ruined. The engineers and pilots are concerned about YOUR safety and the reputation and longevity of the Qantas brand which they are all very loyal too.
Alan Joyce was on the Ansett board and destroyed it and he’s doing the same to Qantas, don’t believe the media spin he is putting on things. The company is not in ‘dire’ circumstances as he claims, they have actually posted one of their best profits in the last decade, doubling their profit yearly. Also, if they were really in ‘dire’ circumstances, any decent leader would not have accepted a 71% pay increase like Joyce did on Friday. Yes he took his $5 million dollar pay and then less than 24hrs turned around and grounded the airline…. that’s taking your money and running in a whole new light isn’t it?!
The union strikes have caused a total of 6 hours of delays broken up into 1 hour blocks over months, Joyce’s grounding is going on 24 hours…. The union strikes all were done with 72 hours notice and with least impact to passengers, less than 3% of flights were effected. Joyce’s grounding has obviously affected 100% of flights. If you are pissed about your flight interruptions, Joyce is the man to be pissed at, not the unions!!!
The TWU are also fighting for better job security so that their members can’t just be cut from their jobs and left in the wind.
Today QANTAS took out multiple full page ads in all the Australian Broadsheet Newspapers, some included the following statement from CEO Alan Joyce.
We are building a stronger Qantas. A Qantas that will be better for our customers. Since 1920, Qantas has represented the best of what air travel can be. A pioneer that introduced flying to a young nation, carried generations of Australians to meet the world, and became one of the world’s great airlines…
An airline that builds on our unrivalled safety record and over 90 years of experience.
…We will always be owned by Australians. We will always be proud that the vast majority of our operations are based in Australia. We will always call Australia home.
At 10:30am this morning, Alan Joyce made a statement to the press. 1,000 jobs will be made redundant, including management, pilots, cabin crew, engineering and airport administration.
A new premium airline will be launched, based in Asia.
Stay classy, QANTAS.
Tomorrow is National Alan Joyce Awareness Day (Green Ribbon Day)
Right now, right across Australia, everyone hates Alan Joyce. They hate him for locking out Qantas workers, they hate him for shutting down the world economy and they hate him for making a French horse win the Melbourne Cup. He is being sacrificed on the altar of well-informed public opinion, like a Capitalist, Irish Aslan, and I think it’s about time that someone stands up for the little Leprechaun.
First of all, he has the same initials as Alan Jones. How could you not feel sorry for him?
Secondly, it’s not his fault his workers went on strike. How was he supposed to know that they would be unhappy if he paid them less and sent their jobs offshore? And how was he supposed to know that they would use the surprise guerrilla tactic of taking industrial action after taking a well-publicised vote and then giving Qantas 3 days’ written notice. That’s right—he couldn’t have. Just because he’s Irish, it doesn’t mean he has magical rainbow powers, so give the man a break. Besides, striking is UnAustralian, just like the Carbon Tax and Rob Oakeshott’s laugh. What has the nation come to, I ask, when workers can get away with striking about their terrible pay and complete lack of job security? It just flies in the face of the great Australian traditions of Mateship, a Fair Go and bottomless cups of Sprite at Subway. It undermines everything Ned Kelly and the Eureka Stockaders stood for, and it’s time to put an end to this nonsense.
Thirdly, this man is a visionary. It may look like he is cutting jobs, but he is really cutting the apron-strings. Qantas is a grown-up now, and it’s time for Unions to stop suppressing it with their demands that it come home by 11 and not have unprotected sex. It may be sad, but the world is awaiting our national airline. Only Alan Joyce has the fortitude, the courage, and the strength to give it $5, a pat on the back, and watch it fly off into the sunset.
Which is why I propose that tomorrow be National Alan Joyce Awareness day. Australians must unite, and wear the Green Ribbon of solidarity, to show support for this poor little misunderstood Irishman. For as the National Anthem says:
Australians, all let us rejoice
For we are union free
We’ve planes that fly, then crash and die
But safety standards don’t matter to me
Together, we will defeat this socialist evil and get the flying Kangaroo flying again. In the words of the Great Andrew Bolt: united we stand, divided we fall.
“I have to activate the one form of protected industrial action that is available to me to bring home to the unions the seriousness of their actions, and to get them to forge sensible deals with us. I am using the only effective avenue at my disposal to bring about peace and certainty. In response to the unions’ industrial action, I announce that under the provisions of the Fair Work Act Qantas will lock out all those employees who will be covered by the agreements currently being negotiated with the ALAEA, the TWU and AIPA. I have informed the Government of this. The only exception to this is that no employee working overseas will be locked out and all staff overseas will continue to be paid. The lock-out will commence from 8pm on Monday night Sydney local time and will continue until further notice. Because the pilots, ramp, baggage and catering staff and licensed engineers are essential to the running of the airline, the lock-out makes it necessary for us to ground the fleet. However, I cannot wait until Monday to do so. This is a very tense environment. Individual reactions to this lock-out decision may be unpredictable. We are always conservative in our approach. For this reason, as a precautionary measure, we have decided to ground the Qantas international and domestic fleet immediately. I repeat, we are grounding the Qantas fleet now. ”—
- Alan Joyce, CEO of Qantas Australia (read the full text of Joyce’s press conference here) on the grounding of all international and domestic Qantas flights, effective immediately.
The whole press conference text is actually really worth a read. Also:
“Obviously, those flights that are currently in the air will complete their scheduled sectors.”
…WELL THAT’S A RELIEF.
Unions welcome Fair Work Australia decision | ACTU
31 October, 2011 | Media Release | ACTU
Qantas must immediately resume flying its planes following Fair Work Australia’s decision early this morning to terminate the airline’s industrial action.
ACTU Secretary Jeff Lawrence said Qantas CEO Alan Joyce now had no excuse not to restart all services after his extraordinary and pre-meditated decision to ground the entire Australian fleet on Saturday afternoon.
Mr Lawrence said Qantas employees would turn up for work today ready to do whatever was necessary to get the planes back in the air. He welcomed the government intervention which had been the circuit breaker in the dispute, and said the next priority was to resume negotiations in a spirit of reconciliation.
“This decision by Fair Work Australia removes any reason for Qantas to ground its planes,” he said. “The tribunal has sheeted home to Alan Joyce full responsibility for the actions which caused massive disruption to the travel plans of thousands of Australians and the economy.
“The decision means Qantas must negotiate about the legitimate claims over job security and outsourcing unions have been pursuing for 15 months. This is a sensible decision by the bench.
“It is a pity it took government intervention to force management back to the bargaining table after such needless disruption. But it now means we can get back to negotiating in good faith, as unions have been seeking to do for weeks.
“But Australians have a right to ask: what did Alan Joyce achieve with this decision to ground the fleet? Qantas has made headlines around the world for all the wrong reasons due to this management action. The damage to the brand is immeasurable.
“Thousands of passengers around Australia have been stranded because of Mr Joyce’s action. And Qantas’ entire workforce are now fearful about their future. And Qantas has failed in its meanspirited attempt to lock out workers pursuing legitimate industrial claims. Did Mr Joyce ever consider the innocent bystanders who would be affected by his action?
“But despite their shock and dismay at what Mr Joyce has done, Qantas workers have performed magnificently in the face of enormous pressure, and we pay tribute to them.
“It needs to be repeated that workers at Qantas are simply seeking to negotiate new pay and conditions, and some guarantees from management about job security. But bargaining at Qantas had broken down because of management’s refusal to negotiate.
“Our immediate priority now is to work with management to get the planes back in the air, but then we will approach negotiations in a genuine spirit of conciliation and expect Qantas management to do the same.
“The key issue for negotiation is the future of Qantas jobs in Australia, and there must be a continuing role for the government during these talks to ensure job security.”
#MirandaDevine thinks if anyone should be striking it's employers #Baiadastrike
Miranda’s point in her latest article is that “under Julia Gillard’s reworking of industrial relations laws, unions are freer than ever to wreak havoc on the economy”. How any of the examples she provides are not havoc wreaked by management are beyond me. Alan Joyce used the Fair Work Act to force the unions back to work, yanking their power to continue striking. He himself shut down his company with no warning leaving flyers stranded. He did that, not the unions who have to give three days notice before striking. He refused to negotiate with the unions, whose demands were that Qantas pay overseas workers as much as they received and that their wages get increased along with inflation.
She then mentions the Baiada strike; “Baiada, the main supplier of chickens to Coles, has had a string of terrible accidents in the past six years, including the decapitation of 34-year-old Sarel Singh last year while cleaning a processing line. The company is being investigated by WorkSafe Victoria.” She does not tell the story in explicit detail;
“Sarel had actually finished his four-hour shift when he was told to go back and re-clean the pack line area.
Mr Kennedy from the National Union of Workers says Sarel was not familiar with the line.
“Now the line he went to was not a line that he normally cleaned. He did not have his full protection gear on in terms of glasses and helmet,” he said.
According to the union, as Sarel was standing on a ladder hosing down the line, his jacket was hooked. He was swept into the next machine and decapitated.
The union says the chain line should be stopped while it is cleaned.
“Over time what has happened is the company, to maintain production, to maintain the returns they want to get, has pushed the risk to workers by speeding that chain up so they have run the chain 20 to 40 birds per minute and people have been asked to clean it,” Mr Kennedy said.
“The night on which Mr Singh was killed the chain was running at absolute capacity … 180 birds per minute.”
She states that “the union’s main complaint is that the company employs contract workers, which means more than half of the workforce does not belong to the union”. They claim they are striking because they are”being bullied into accepting below-award wages and long hours - often beyond working or student visa conditions”. I had a feeling Miranda was going to use the security guard scuffle at Baiada to make the unions out as “thugs”. To me it looks like the security guard drives into the strikers, to her it looks like they start trying to take his keys for no reason.
Miranda thinks the reason strikes are on the rise isn’t that employers are screwing their employees over, that doesn’t even factor into her realm of possibility. She thinks “cashed-up unions are flexing their muscles, knowing they have a short window of opportunity to entrench power before the Labor government is thrown out.” If I was Miranda, I would look at the polls she loves to cite whenever they agree with her. The Liberals are losing ground with the public and the business community because of Abbott’s protectionism, backflips and budget black holes. It looks like the Liberals may have to turn back to the one Liberal Miranda can’t stand. He does seem to be dominating the media lately while his leader is hiding in England lavishing praise on the Labor government.
Australia's Race to the Industrial Relations Bottom
I was innocently watching Doc Martin this evening when it was interrupted by a crawler telling me that the Qantas CEO, Alan Joyce, had held a press conference and details would be forthcoming in a special news break after Doc Martin was over.
Yesterday, at its AGM, the Qantas board happily handed over a pay increase of $5 million to Mr Joyce which was in pretty poor taste considering the ongoing industrial actions by its staff requesting payrises of $1 per hour which the airline has steadfastly refused. During his press conference then he did use some strong language in relation to the industrial action that indicated firm action was going to be initiated against the unions sooner rather than later. I didn’t expect it to happen 24 hours later and during an episode of Doc Martin.
It seems Mr Joyce suffered some kind of brain spasm over night, probably one that’s brought on by having just been handed the sum of $5million, and obviously still in its thrall he announced that he was grounding the entire Qantas fleet effective immediately. And not just in Australia either but world wide. Plus it would lock-out all union staff from 8am Monday morning. The sound of jaws dropping echoed around the nation. Not since Dogs on the Docks was such a clear shot fired in anger by big business against a unionised workforce.
Qantas not only blindsided their employees with this but it also blindsided the ALP, who were informed at 4pm AEST, 3 hours before Alan Joyce went before the press. In a bully boy tactic that would make Chris Corrigan proud he has essentially said to the government, break the unions or we’ll take this airline offshore. Because the government is largely supportive of its union benefactors, it has now been placed in an invidious position. The PM was very non-committal in the press conference she held on this issue this afternoon. Alan Joyce has effectively held a loaded gun to her head and his action has had the desired effect, she’s passed it off to Fair Work Australia to rule whether the industrial action should be terminated or suspended.
This action has become fraught in its own right.
Convening this evening at 10pm AEST, the parties and their lawyers convened at FWA with Qantas declaring it should terminate industrial action by the unions and the unions requesting it declare Qantas lock-out illegal. The FWA has heard evidence from union delegates and some from Qantas before adjourning for the night with an aim to reconvene some time tomorrow.
The outcome of this decision will, I believe, dominate the Australian IR landscape for years to come. Qantas wants employee wages and conditions driven down so their company can compete on a global playing field. It can’t do this now because of higher wages being paid to Aussies employees than those in Asia and because some Aussie workers have strong unions to protect them. This is why Qantas, the quintessentially Australian airline, wants to move offshore.
It seems like the employees lose regardless of the outcome. Either their wages and conditions are driven down or they lose their job altogether when the company moves its operations abroad. Some suggest they should look for work elsewhere if they’re not happy with working for Qantas. That is a simplistic suggestion because if workers do leave it becomes easier for Qantas to erode working conditions and once they do it, other companies will follow suit and so on and so forth until soon there will be no jobs left with decent wages and conditions and essentially we’ll all be working long days for peanuts.
It’s a hell of a thorny issue for the Government and may eventually bring their house of cards crashing down.