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The 1% Are Clueless

Qantas, the Australian airline, has been in labor negotiations with its union over a new contract with the standard position that the airline has to cut costs, so the workers are going to have to sacrifice pay and benefits. Pretty standard starting position, but then it got very strange as ABC business analyst, Peter Ryan, notes: Grounding eroding Qantas’ reputation

Then there is increasing scrutiny of Mr Joyce’s $5 million pay deal approved by shareholders on Friday.

Even with a 71 per cent increase, Mr Joyce is a discount chief executive compared the $10 million his successor Geoff Dixon received in his final year.

But taking a significant pay increase while asking unions to compromise and to trade in traditional terms and conditions is raising the cynicism stakes with the government and general community.

That’s right, while asking for the workers to take a hit, he got a 71% raise to $5 million, and then he grounded the entire fleet, a lockout, stranding people all over the world.

Qantas is losing millions of dollars every day this continues. It is seriously annoying the customers, and the secondary vendors who serve those customers. I am trying to determine what Mr. Joyce hopes to achieve other than bankruptcy.

Virgin Australia is rushing to be ‘helpful’ to the stranded Qantas customers, and other airlines are ramping up to fill the opening, so other than losing market share, this makes no sense.

With thinking like this, the guy was being paid way too much before the raise.


1 Kryten42 { 10.30.11 at 12:49 am }

Yup! You hit that nail square on m8! I’ve been watching the news here about this of course. I was instantly gobsmacked the other day when the news of his massive pay raise was announced in the midst of telling the workers there’s no money for their lousy $40-$50/week raise and guarantees of job security for 3 years! And the shareholders are retarded enough to grant a 71% pay increase to a CEO that has halved their share value, and returned no dividends in two years! :O And these morons say the workers are stupid! Amazing.

This is from the TWU (Transport Workers Union) via AAP:

Qantas always wanted this dispute – TWU

QANTAS management never wanted to resolve its dispute with employees and no amount of chaos will deter them from sending jobs offshore, the Transport Workers Union (TWU) says.

The union said otday the airline’s indefinite grounding of its entire domestic and international fleets and lockout of employees was designed to destroy it.

“Today’s unwarranted and disgraceful snap announcement by Qantas CEO Alan Joyce is designed to destroy Qantas as we have always known it,” TWU national secretary Tony Sheldon said in a statement.

“No amount of chaos will cause Qantas senior management to deviate from their ambition to outsource Australian jobs to Asia and detonate the Qantas brand.

“It is clear that Mr Joyce is unfit to lead this great Australian company.

“He should take his $5 million package and leave the airline in capable hands, not those of someone who has seen share value halve and provided no dividend to shareholders for over two years.”

Mr Sheldon said the TWU said it has taken a total of six hours industrial action in over eight months’ negotiations.

“Qantas has only issued an ultimatum that workers agree to it without even having the chance to look at it,” he said. “Make no mistake, Qantas has always wanted this dispute. They trained strike-breakers nine months ago to do the work of TWU members. They have never wanted to resolve their employees’ claims, never.”

He said the union’s claims have been aimed at gaining job security for the next enterprise bargaining agreement and a negotiable pay rise.

Mr Joyce had not bothered telling his shareholders about his decision at Qantas’s annual general meeting on Friday, he said.

“Why did he not advise shareholders of his plan to ruin the airline and wreck employee relations for years to come,” Mr Sheldon said.

“These are the actions of a hard-line ideological board built around a chair that still yearns for the workplace-busting days when he could roll out AWAs (Australian Workplace Agreements) at will.

“He wants to re-inflict them on workers under a Tony Abbott-led anti-employee government.

“Qantas management has totally lost touch with their employees.

“Their massive pay rises have sailed through, but the requests for certainty for three years on job security have been dismissed with lies.”

Mr Sheldon said the airline is in breach of the Qantas Sale Act, which has a national responsibility to the Australian community, content, and workforce.

He called on the federal government to intervene.

I’ve never seen anything like it. Just insane. And it certainly adds fuel to the protestors claims that the 1% are just totally greedy and completely inept.

2 cookiejill { 10.30.11 at 12:15 pm }

One of my favorite snarky tweets of late –

@GetUpPR – We applaud this decision by #Qantas management to drastically reduce their carbon emissions.

3 Bryan { 10.30.11 at 1:22 pm }

It looks like they want to outsource the entire operation to Asia, but they are destroying its value. The most important thing an airline has in this environment is loyal customers, and actions like this destroy that. No one is going to want to have part of a business that throws away millions every day on CEO pique.

There is no question as to who is at fault in this mess. It may have been an attempt to start a job action, but this shifts responsibility for any further problems on to management. If the union says that management forced us to do this, everyone will believe them.

The government has intervened and can get even nastier by ‘reviewing Qantas landing rights’. Virgin is going to be even more aggressive is taking routes that Qantas serves.

This is an example of the mindset of the ‘Masters of the Universe’ and why we are in such deep yogurt.

Well, yes, Jill, there is that benefit, but it is offset by all of the venting by angry customers. I would hate to have work at a Qantas ticket counter at the moment. What do you say – ‘Our CEO has lost his mind, but we are hoping to have him committed shortly and return to normal service.’

4 jams o donnell { 10.30.11 at 4:03 pm }

An other example of those at the top of the tree saying “let them eat sh*t” to the proles. Meanwhile over here our top 300 CEOs got an average 49% rise last year. They really don’t give a damn. With the Tories in their pockets, Labour with a useless leader and the Church of England really showing where their interests lie I fear things will get very nasty here.

5 Bryan { 10.30.11 at 4:46 pm }

We should start a firm to manufacture guillotines and knitting needles – the way things are going those are going to be the future markets.

6 jams o donnell { 10.30.11 at 7:44 pm }

Perhaps an agency Crones R Us to make sure that there is the obligatory harridan next to the basket!

7 Kryten42 { 10.31.11 at 1:11 am }

Here’s a quick update from our SMH:

Qantas crisis: Who won and who’s to blame?

Gillard has gained a point IMHO because I think she acted quickly and did what the Gov could (for now anyway). We’ll see if this start will (hopefully) become a new trend! *shrug* 😉

8 Kryten42 { 10.31.11 at 1:19 am }

Drats! Pushed the wrong button (Post)!

So… She loses several points because as usual she’s sitting on the fence hoping the whole dispute will be settled without her having to do anything. i personally prefer her not doing anything usually, because when she does something, she usually makes a dog’s breakfast out of it!

Dennis Shanahan, from The Australian sums it up I think:

“This Government seems endlessly capable of assuming things will turn out right and not being prepared when the worst-case scenario eventuates.

“Gillard didn’t even use rhetorical pressure or moral persuasion on Qantas or the unions, while her Workplace Relations Minister, Chris Evans, government involvement.

“The Government’s public responses reflected old union loyalties, uncertainty about the Fair Work Act and a failure to grasp the real financial threat.

“Given Qantas was thinking about grounding its fleet for a while, why did no one in the government consider this a possibility without being told – just as they seemed incapable of imagining a High Court defeat on offshore processing of asylum-seekers. It’s probably because the government spends too much time dealing with each crisis. Well, now there’s another one.”

Yep! Well, this isn’t over yet! If there is a winner, it’s probably Richard Branson (as usual. Does he ever loose??!) 😆

9 Bryan { 10.31.11 at 1:11 pm }

I noticed that Joyce claimed that he had mentioned this to the government several times, and Evans jumped on it immediately with all of the dates and times of meetings and conversations. Evans left several calls for Joyce that weren’t returned, so Gillard would have been wasting her time calling.

Yes, Branson is making out like the bandit he is, because he understands marketing if nothing else. Why Qantas thought stranding about 100K people around Australia and the world would pressure the unions is beyond me. I assume they have already topped up their strike fund before the negotiations started. If Australian law is like US law, you can’t claim unemployment benefits if you go on strike, but you can if you are locked out.

The shareholders should send the CEO and board on a one-way trip to nowhere and get back to running an airline. People are not going to trust Qantas while Joyce is in charge.