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.
@Qantas both of my flatmates are now talking about going on Centrelink because of your inability to care for your staff. PAY YOUR WORKERS.
— Katie Summers (@k_lsummers) March 19, 2020
Congratulations @Qantas you are happy to take a $750M taxpayer bailout with no conditions one day and then stand down two thirds of your workforce then next. Go fuck yourselves! Will never fly with you again.
— Zaphod Beeblebrox (@Zaphod_BBX) March 18, 2020
Pay your workers or expect your brand to be forever tarnished.
— Tansy (@dream_tansy) March 18, 2020
“Leave without pay is inevitable”.
No it isn’t. Qantas made a billion dollar profit last year. There is money in the economy — it needs to taken away from bosses and given to workers. We can, and need to, do it. https://t.co/5Y4t73wQXu
— Osman Faruqi (@oz_f) March 18, 2020
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.
… he is a millionaire
— Sally Rugg (@sallyrugg) March 18, 2020
Just sharing for no reason, definitely not in light of the Qantas news where they’re expecting workers to take unpaid leave https://t.co/WmeYFj4jCY
— Josh Butler (@JoshButler) March 18, 2020
This unconscionable decision by Qantas will hurt the workers which have created their very wealth. Without the workers there is no Qantas.
Now is a better time than ever to take back control and renationalise Qantas.
— Thomas Marrett (@MarrettThomas) March 19, 2020
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