Aviation

TWU hopes Qantas salary cuts “more than window dressing”

Christian Fleetwood

Christian Fleetwood

The Australian Transport Workers Union has acknowledged salary cuts to Qantas’ senior staff, but has called for assurances employees won’t bear the brunt.

TWU national secretary Michael Kaine said he hopes the national carrier’s announcement of temporary executive-level salary cuts is “more than window dressing”.

His comments come as the Qantas Group yesterday revealed it is decreasing capacity by almost a quarter until mid-September due to the mounting impact on international demand from coronavirus (COVID-19).

CEO Alan Joyce will take no salary for the remainder of the 2020 fiscal year, with the board and executive management to take a 30 per cent pay cut during the period.

In addition, all Qantas and Jetstar employees are being asked to take paid or unpaid leave due to reduced flying activity.

All non-essential recruitment and consultancy work has also been frozen by the company to weather costs.

Kaine said the union would work cooperatively with Qantas during this trying period.

However, the TWU wants a commitment by the company that it will reimburse its workforce with extra leave when the business returns to full health.

“It is not reasonable to ask Qantas ground staff, baggage handlers and flight attendants to take a hit without also asking shareholders to sacrifice dividends,” Kaine added.

“Qantas should also commit to no further outsourcing and agree to maximise the hours of its permanent workforce.

“If we are all in this together, as the Prime Minister has suggested, Qantas must make sure its hard-working employees do not bear the brunt.”

Travel Weekly has contacted Qantas for comment.

Last week, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) estimating COVID-19 could reduce revenue by as much as US$113 billion (around $171 billion).

According to the trade group, this would be on a scale equivalent to what the travel industry experienced in the Global Financial Crisis of 2008–09.

By comparison, IATA predicted last month that the worldwide loss would be about US$29 billion ($43.8 billion) – US$27 billion ($40.8 billion) of which would be suffered by the Asia Pacific.

Featured image: Qantas operated Boeing 737 at take-off (supplied)

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