This will work out well.
Transport Workers Union national secretary Tony Sheldon said his members were entitled to consider strike action.
Senior officials said unions would consider action in the Federal Court and the Fair Work Commission if they believed the attempts by Qantas to impose job cuts and a pay freeze were in breach of enterprise agreements.
Ahead of talks with Qantas in Sydney this morning, Mr Oliver said unions would demand to know where the jobs would be cut and the timing. “There are provisions in industrial agreements that we have that commit Qantas to genuine consultation. We don’t view genuine consultation as one where a group of managers meet in a room, come up with a number and then declare it to the world.”
Mr Sheldon, an ALP vice-president, warned his members could take action. He called on the government, in particular Joe Hockey, to hold talks with the airline to fund ways of avoiding the job cuts. “But if Joe Hockey is not prepared to do that then its industrial action the workforce should be considering. We have the right to withdraw our labour.”
But, at least, he is being honest – the Australian taxpayer has to stump up to protect well-paid and feather-bedded Qantas jobs, according to his view of the world. I guess even he doesn’t expect discerning customers to pay higher Qantas fares for the privilege.
I actually think the government is being quite canny with their response to the situation – it’s all a matter of sequencing. The first priority is to ditch the Qantas Sale Act (and pressure Labor to support this) and to provide the right incentives for the company to become lean and efficient.
By all means, the board can get rid of Alan Joyce – Sinc’s suggestion, along with lots of others, including the trade union leaders – but I am not sure what that would achieve. A new CEO would be staring at exactly the same pallette.
To be sure, mistakes have been made by the senior management – Jestar Asia/Jetstar Japan? – but we should not assume that this is an easy business to manage.
And when Virgin Australia, with cheap funds, decided to expand domestic seats, should Qantas have just sat back and watched their market share be eroded? Looks like a real prisoner’s dilemma.