People Are Furious That Some Qantas Staff Will Be Stood Down With No Pay

The national airline made a $1.3 billion profit in the last financial year.


In response to widespread travel bans Qantas has announced it will stand down the majority of its 30,000 staff until the end of May — and some will likely be forced to take leave without pay, as the company faces unprecedented conditions with global travel grinding to a halt.

In a statement this morning the airline announced all international flights would be suspended from late March and domestic flights would be cut by 60%.

Two-thirds of employees will be temporarily stood down as a result. They will have access to annual leave, leave at half pay, early access to long service leave and access to four weeks annual leave in advance of earning it.

However, according to Qantas’ statement, “periods of leave without pay for some employees are inevitable”.

That last part has not gone down well with people.

In the last financial year Qantas recorded a $1.3 billion profit. In 2018 Alan Joyce also topped the list of highest paid CEOs, taking home $23.9 million — more than 275 times the average full-time wage.

The Chairman, Group CEO Alan Joyce, who last year earned $23 million, management executives and the board will take no pay until at least the end of the financial year and annual bonuses have been cancelled.

Qantas has also deferred a $201 million payment to shareholders until September this year.

But somehow, the fact that the millionaire execs will have to go a few months on their savings hasn’t taken the sting out of the news for their much lower paid employees.

Yesterday the Australian government announced a $715 million relief package for the aviation industry.

As part of the package the government waived fees including the fuel excise, charges on domestic operations and security. That was backdated to February 1, meaning about $159 million was reimbursed for the charges domestic airlines had already paid.

Infrastructure Minister Michael McCormack said he had been speaking to airline executives to make sure they receive the support they need.

“Our airlines run on tight budgets at the best of times and these past few weeks have been particularly tough,” he said.

This week consultancy firm CAPA Centre For Aviation predicted that most airlines in the world will be bankrupt by the end of May without government and industry action.

Feature Image: Wikimedia Commons