Monday, 31 October 2011

The grounding of Qantas

could have been avoided.
I believe that the CEO of Qantas made a major blunder in accepting a pay rise at this time but, apart from that, it may be that he and the board of Qantas have more idea than the unions about
what needs to be done to save Qantas - if it can now be saved. I do not know.
There are things I would like to know but nobody has yet spelt them out. I want to know if the pay and the working conditions for Qantas employees are comparable with those doing the same jobs in other airlines. I want to know what the impact of the global economic climate and natural disasters has been on the airline industry and on tourism.
There are suggestions that employees at Qantas are already paid more than their mates in other airlines. If true then they need to back off. Arguments about "job security" cannot apply if there are no jobs because you have priced yourself out of existence.
News has come to light this morning that the government was asked to intervene and refused to do so. The Prime Minister failed to return calls to the CEO of Qantas. Her chief of staff had been contacted and asked to use the government's powers to intervene and terminate strike action so as to prevent the lock out and require the strikers to return to work. The CEO of Qantas also travelled a considerable distance to try and get the Assistant Treasurer to act. Nothing happened.
It is clear that this situation is no longer about Qantas. It has moved beyond that. The government did not want to intervene because many of them are former unionists or, like the Prime Minister, they worked for or with the union movement.
"Fair Work Australia" has just advised the unions that they must terminate their strike action because it could damage the national economy. It comes a little late. The national economy has already been damaged to the tune of millions of dollars. It was unnecessary and it could have been avoided if the government had shown some leadership.
The government will now claim a victory for their form of industrial relations but the reality is that they should have intervened weeks ago. It was all about saving their own jobs. Our leaders lacked the courage to act.

4 comments:

virtualquilter said...

Cat,

I heard the PM saying that one section of the Fair Work act wasn't used because it has never been used before ... and it might not work. The PM, who is a lawyer, drafted the legislation, but doesn't know if will work ... and we are supposed to have confidence in a government she leads.

I need more coffee!

Anonymous said...

I need more coffee too Cat. This was utterly ridiculous. Joyce payrise was badly timed but union action has been way out of line for weeks. They are flexing muscle because they know they have the government where they want them for now. PM should have stepped in when asked to do so but was too afraid of the unions to do anything- and we pay this mob to run the country? Chris

Sheep Rustler said...

I'm pretty sure Alan Joyce said publicly yesterday that he had up till then refused to ask the government for assistance, but I could be wrong. He has probably destroyed the airline in one fell swoop by his actions, for which there is evidence that he had planned at least a week ago (according to some reports I have read). I cannot see how anyone is worth a salary like that, for any reason. On the other hands I do believe the pilots are well paid, but they were not actually on strike - just talking about their conditions, never threatening to strike.

Anonymous said...

Joyce did ask - and Gillard did not even get back to him. Shorten also refused to cooperate. Joyce asked the government to use their powers to terminate the dispute in the national interest because of the effect it was having on the economy. The government was so desperate to show that the Fair Work Australia legislation was working that they would not even discuss the issues.
Don't blame Joyce - blame the government. (Cat will tell you I do know something about this.) Chris