Aviation

Joyce meets with Victorian Premier over Qantas’ potential HQ move, as thousands more jobs get the chop

Qantas boss Alan Joyce has visited Melbourne Airport to have a chat with Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews to discuss the airline’s potential HQ move.

In September, the airline revealed it would review the location of its key facilities as part of its recovery plan and efforts to cut overheads.

The airline said the review will focus chiefly on non-aviation facilities, including the national carrier’s leased 49,000-square-metre head office in Mascot (Sydney) and Jetstar’s leased head office in Collingwood (Melbourne).

Travel Weekly understands Joyce took a tour of the Melbourne Airport Precinct last Wednesday as part of the group’s property review process, which was followed by a meeting with Premier Andrews in Melbourne.

“As Premier, I am proud to spend every day fighting for Victorian jobs – these opportunities are even more crucial as we rebuild from the global pandemic,” Andrews said in a statement, according to news.com.au.

“We continue to have constructive discussions with our national carrier about high-skilled, high-wage jobs for Victoria.”

The news comes as Qantas confirmed it has notified around 2,000 workers that it will outsource ground handling operations at 10 airports across Australia.

The airline announced in August that it was reviewing whether to outsource its ground handling operations at the 10 airports where the work is done in-house and its bus services for customers and employees around Sydney Airport.

The Qantas Group said such a move would affect 2,420 employees across Qantas and Jetstar, on top of the 6,000 job cuts already announced, and would save the group an estimated $100 million in operating costs each year.

The announcement has been met with employee protests, union opposition and even calls from the senate to halt its decision.

Andrew David, Qantas’ domestic and international CEO, said: “This is another tough day for Qantas, particularly for our ground handling teams and their families. We thank every one of them for their professionalism and contribution over the years supporting our customers and operations.

“Unfortunately, COVID has turned aviation upside down. Airlines around the world are having to make dramatic decisions in order to survive and the damage will take years to repair.

“While there has been some good news recently with domestic borders, international travel isn’t expected to return to pre-COVID levels until at least 2024. We have a massive job ahead of us to repay debt and we know our competitors are aggressively cutting costs to emerge leaner.”

Transport Worker’s Union (TWU) national secretary Michael Kaine said Qantas had rejected a “competitive bid” submitted by workers which found millions of dollars in savings.

“This is a dark day as Qantas management rejects a thorough and competitive bid by its highly skilled and dedicated workers to keep their own jobs,” Kaine said.

“Qantas workers have worked hard over recent months with EY to find millions of dollars in cost savings and efficiencies. EY advised us our bid was competitive in comparison to other contractors.

“To reject its own workers like this is spiteful and will hurt the airline deeply.”

However, David said the TWU’s in-house-bid failed to outline where savings could occur.

“Even with the involvement of a large accounting firm, the bid falls well short of what the specialist external providers were able to come up with,” he said.

Kaine said David’s claims were an “absolute insult to the time and effort which has been put in by workers”.


Featured image source: iStock/Katharina13

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