It will be a big week for Qantas, with their disastrous results to be released towards the end of the week.
There is talk of significant job cuts – 1,000 to 3,000 are numbers mentioned. But recall that Qantas currently employs over 30,000 workers.
And then we have this little gem from Matt Thistlethwaite, who really should have checked his facts before sounding off.
Labor frontbencher Matt Thistlethwaite said rumours of job cuts were deeply concerning.
“Labor doesn’t believe that we need to be getting rid of the Qantas Sale Act provisions… that ensure Qantas remains our national carrier, that it remains in Australian hands,” he told Sky.
Mr Thistlethwaite said the airline would not now exist had the Qantas Sale Act not prevented a proposed private equity takeover ahead of the global financial crisis.
“Those provisions have served Qantas, our nation and its employees well,” he said.
Here’s the thing, maate, comrade, maate, the consortium proposing to take over was locally based – it was called Airlines Partners Australia and involved the former CEO of Qantas, Geoff Dixon, and Macquarie Bank.
The Qantas Sale Act was never invoked. The bid process had nothing to do with the Qantas Sale Act. The bid failed, even though acceptance was recommended by the Board (not surprisingly – the offer was $5.60 per share, Qantas now trades just above a buck), because not enough shareholders accepted the bid, with one reluctant and prescient funds manager, in particular, holding out.
There was some argy-bargy involving the Takeovers Panel because some acceptances came in after the cut off, but the panel ruled against the company.
So Matt, maaate, you have shown your true colours. You are there protecting your mates in the trade union movement who think the Qantas Sale Act prevents significant offshoring. Read this clause from the act:
“of the facilities, taken in aggregate, which are used by Qantas in the provision of scheduled international air transport services (for example, facilities for the maintenance and housing of aircraft, catering, flight operations, training and administration), the facilities located in Australia, when compared with those located in any other country, must represent the principal operational centre for Qantas.”
This is what Thistlethwaite is on about. My guess is the unions would prefer to see Qantas fail than give in on this issue – a bit like Toyota.
And, by the way, there is no concept of national carriers today in terms of determining landing slots and gateway access. Australia has nearly 90 bilateral open skies agreements and virtually all those crazy restrictions have gone – thank the Lord, says the travelling public.
(Not long ago, Qantas used to make a motza on the the trans-Pacific run because other airlines were not permitted to compete. This is no longer the case. There has been competition on the London run for much longer.)