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.