In what is more devastating news for the Qantas Group and its employees, the airline has revealed plans to outsource its ground handling services at major Australian airports as part of its latest cost-cutting measures, including Sydney and Melbourne, as well as larger regional airports.
The latest cost-cutting plans are forecast to see almost 2,500 jobs lost across Qantas and Jetstar, on top of the 6,000 job cuts already announced in June this year.
The roles affected include baggage handlers, tug drivers and cabin cleaners. Qantas said the work was already being outsourced in smaller airports around the country.
It’s estimated the latest round of cuts could save the Qantas Group $100 million a year by extending the outsourcing arrangements to major airports.
According to the ABC, Qantas says it will look to outsource its ground handling work in the coming months at 10 airports including Adelaide, Alice Springs, Brisbane, Cairns, Canberra, Darwin, Melbourne, Perth, Sydney and Townsville.
It’s expected that 2,000 jobs will go as a result, including management roles.
Jetstar has already decided to outsource ground handling work at Adelaide, Avalon, Brisbane, Cairns, Melbourne and Sydney domestic airports, “subject to union consultation” in a move which is estimated to cost 370 workers their jobs.
The news follows the airline reporting a $2 billion loss in the previous financial year due to the impact of COVID-19.
Qantas also announced the departure of Qantas International CEO Tino La Spina two days ago as part of the airline’s crisis management strategy.
Qantas says the three-year strategy will see costs reduced by AU$15 billion with 100 aircraft grounded for up to 12 months (some for longer) and further job losses and extended stand-downs to manage the long period of reduced flying (especially internationally).
Speaking previously about the situation, Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce had said:
“Further significant losses are projected in the 2021 financial year, and an at least $10 billion drop in revenue due to the ongoing impact of COVID,” Qantas said in a statement.
“What makes this even harder is that right before this crisis hit, we were actively recruiting pilots, cabin crew and ground staff. We’re now facing a sudden reversal of fortune that is no one’s fault but is very hard to accept.
Alan Joyce, Qantas Group CEO
Meanwhile, the Transport Workers’ Union (TWU) is fighting Qantas in court today over what it says is an abuse of the Jobkeeper Payment scheme, arguing the airline is ripping its workers off by thousands of dollars by refusing to pay them what they have earned.
The TWU says the court case centres on Qantas’s refusal to pay workers for public holidays, weekends, overtime work and allowances by standing people down for the rest of their pay period and manipulating the pay system so workers just get basic Jobkeeper Payment.
Speaking about the case, National Secretary for the Transport Workers’ Union, Michael Kaine said:
“Qantas has been ripping off its workers, refusing to pay them for their work when they spent time away from their families on public holidays and Sundays. They have deliberately manipulated Jobkeeper so they don’t have to pay workers a dollar more than the public subsidy. What they are doing is abusing the taxpayer scheme to line their own pockets. Alan Joyce and his team are now paying themselves millions again at the same time that they are denying their worker’s basic rights,” Kaine said.
Qantas has revealed it received $267 million through the JobKeeper Payment and $248 million through government financial assistance packages.
Hundreds of Qantas workers will hold protests at airports tomorrow over the jobs axing and outsourcing says the TWU.
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