Qantas jobs at Canberra Airport safe for now

August 28, 2014 – 11:48AM

Henry Belot

Canberra Times Reporter

Despite restructuring costs and writedowns, Qantas jobs in the capital are safe for now.

Despite restructuring costs and writedowns, Qantas jobs in the capital are safe for now. Photo: Glenn Hunt

Qantas staff at Canberra Airport are likely to keep their jobs despite the airline posting a full-year loss of $646 million before tax and a statutory loss of $2.8 billion after restructuring charges and writedowns to its fleet.

Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce said the figures released on Thursday morning were “confronting” but represented “the year that was past”.

“We have now come through the worst,” he said. “There is a clear and significant easing of both international and domestic capacity growth.”

But with more bad news for the airline, a Qantas spokeswoman said there would be no further job cuts beyond the 5000 that were announced in late February as part of a $2 billion cost reduction strategy.

At the time of the announcement, there were 60 people working in below-the-wing roles and a total of 220 people employed by Qantas at Canberra Airport.

Transport Workers Union spokesman Ben Sweaney, whose union represents workers employed in below-the-wing roles, said he would be surprised if Qantas introduced further redundancies at Canberra Airport given how lean the airport is running.

“It is difficult to see how any savings of significance could be found through further redundancies at Canberra Airport,” he said.

Mr Sweaney said around 15 people had taken voluntary redundancies at Canberra Airport after Qantas management announced they would shed 5000 workers in February.

Australian Services Union ACT secretary Sally McManus, whose union represents workers from call-centres to check-in booths, said Thursday’s financial figures had left workers disappointed and frustrated.

“We fought really hard to minimise job losses at Canberra Airport as it is growing and becoming really essential and there really wasn’t any fat to cut at all,” she said.

“The workers were upset about the announcement of job losses earlier this year but wore the pain to try and turn the company around, which is why the figures posted this morning were so disappointing,” she said.

“It’s now got to the point where the workers have just lost faith in the CEO and the people supporting him,” she said.

Both the TWU and the ASU blamed Alan Joyce and the Qantas Board for the airline’s poor finances and have called for a leadership restructure.

“This most recent announcement is very concerning given Alan Joyce is one of the highest paid airline executives in the world,” said Mr Sweeney.

“It is time for Alan Joyce and the Board to do the decent thing to save Qantas – resign – so that Qantas and the remaining staff have a fighting chance of saving this great airline,” said ASU assistant national secretary Linda White.

Mr Joyce said Qantas was expected to return to an underlying profit before tax in the first half of the financial year, subject to factors outside its control. The airline expects international capacity growth of 2.4 per cent in the first half and domestic growth of 1 per cent.

Mr Sweaney said the TWU would meet with Qantas management in Sydney on Monday to discuss a new workplace agreement for its members.

“We will be putting forward our position to negotiate in good faith to get the best interests for the airline and our members,” he said.

 – with Jamie Freed.

Source : The Sydney Morning Herald

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