Tasmanian Times

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. No price is too high for the privilege of owning yourself. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. No price is too high for the privilege of owning yourself. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

Economy

Qantas union anxious about fallout for Tasmanian jobs

Hundreds of Tasmanian workers in a Qantas call centre are anxiously awaiting information about whether their jobs are safe.

Qantas has confirmed it is cutting 5,000 jobs after reporting a half year loss of $235 million ( Full ABC report on the Qantas 5000-job-loss Train Wreck, here ).

In January, Qantas axed 35 positions at Hobart Airport, making its only remaining ground staff redundant.

All other Qantas airport workers across the state are sub-contractors.

The Australian Service Union says the only remaining Qantas employees are 300 staff at the Glenorchy call centre.

Spokesman Igor Gratton says he has been taking phone calls from workers who are anxious and in tears.

“I would like to think that after the hits Tasmania has recently taken, and the savings that the contact centre has recently made, and the work that they’re doing that it might be minimal,” he said.

“But who knows where Qantas is going to go, or what they’re going to do, because they don’t feel they’re answerable to anyone but them-bloody-selves.

“We’ve been inundated with calls…all people are doing is worrying about their futures, we’ve had people in tears we’ve got people very concerned and it’s just, this secretive way they’re doing things is unacceptable.”

Mr Gratton says it is another blow to staff recently made redundant because many were hoping to gain work at the call centre.

Michael Bailey from the state’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry says it is vital the call centre jobs are quarantined.

Full ABC story here

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13 Comments

13 Comments

  1. Russell

    February 28, 2014 at 11:42 pm

    Re #12
    “There are industries where unions are still very strong, such as construction industry unions, the airlines and the maritime unions.”

    Construction:
    CFMEU – Royal Commission over rorts, fraud, corruption and intimidation.
    CFMEU – Demise of the Tasmanian Forest Industry with massive job losses over last 30 years by backing FT and Gunns.

    Airlines(?):
    QANTAS – Thousands of job losses.

    Maritime(?):
    Think “John Howard.”

  2. Leonard Colquhoun

    February 28, 2014 at 10:39 pm

    Re this observation in Comment 11, “Unions are piss-weak these days and have very little workshop power in Australia as far as securing jobs go”, the position of the Movement is, you could say, “piss-weak”, with less than 20% of our workforce as members, down from about 65% fifty years ago.

    This is partly owing to the changing nature of work and employment, but it seems to me that the Movement in general, and individual unions & their officials in particular, took their eyes off the core business of unions, which is about the wages, working conditions and welfare of their members.

    NOT becoming Labor MPs (as a core personal aim).

    NOT, say, saving whales from Japs, nor Africans from themselves and their vicious dictators, nor any other non-union, non-members’ interests stuff (which officials can do in their spare time, with their own money, resources, and energy). And certainly

    NOT the goings on at the HSU and by ex-MHR Thomson.

    Workers outside government employment have largely given unions the flick as wastes of space. Sadly.

    There are industries where unions are still very strong, such as construction industry unions, the airlines and the maritime unions.

  3. Russell

    February 28, 2014 at 8:54 pm

    Not in this case though, eh Leonard? But you digress.

    Of the little Irishman’s sacked thousands in his five year reign you would have thought he, as a competent CEO steering the company in the right direction, would have weeded out the non-performers in doing so?

    Unions are piss-weak these days and have very little workshop power in Australia as far as securing jobs go. Union bosses, like the Labor Ministers they later become, couldn’t give a rat’s about their members. They’re only after a real go at the big trough. Just look how Shorten has stacked the weight on doing sweet FA since he became ‘leader.’

  4. Tim Thorne

    February 28, 2014 at 7:45 pm

    Thanks, Leonard. The person I heard on the radio appeared to be talking about the ten most profitable, rather than “best” from a passenger’s point of view.

    Interesting that NZ re-nationalised theirs some years back.

  5. Leonard Colquhoun

    February 28, 2014 at 5:43 pm

    Appreciate the general thrust of this in Comment 2, “After all, a company only loses money if its highly paid management fails, not the low-paid workers”, but would exclude “After all” and “only”.

    The low-paid workers, the middle paid, and the highly paid can shaft a company, a business or an enterprise by poor workmanship and / or bad leadership from their union officials, especially when the said union officials are far more focused on their own [political] careers, rather then on the interests of their members, or push an anti-business ideology hostile to effective management. Wasn’t 1960s / 1970s GB full of both sorts? And didn’t so many British industries crash as a result that its style unionism became known as the “British disease”?

  6. Leonard Colquhoun

    February 28, 2014 at 2:08 am

    Here are two lists for Comment 7 (others are available from googling World’s Top Ten airlines):

    Sydney Morning Herald, 19 June 2013:

    1. Emirates (Flight test: business class)
    2. Qatar Airways (Flight test: business class)
    3. Singapore Airlines (Flight test: economy class)
    4. ANA All Nippon Airways
    5. Asiana Airlines
    6. Cathay Pacific (Flight test: premium economy class)
    7. Etihad Airways (Flight test: business class)
    8. Garuda Indonesia (Flight test: business class)
    9. Turkish Airlines
    10. Qantas (Flight test: business class)

    Business Insider Australia, 27 April 2013:

    link –
    http://www.businessinsider.com.au/the-20-best-airlines-in-the-world-2013-4?op=1#20-etihad-airways-1
    This story has a write-up with nice pics for each of its Top 20.

    Plenty of other lists, including one with a warning about not copying!! (So I didn’t.)

    As for many of them being government owned, all that tells us is that some governments reckon that having a Top Ten airline is a high priority; it does not tell us what the opportunity costs are in going for such a gong. Would we want to trade off, say, lower quality hospitals for a Top Ten luxury aerial bus service?

    Anyway, a very, very valid claim could be made for the Worst 20 airlines being government-owned, as lots of people who’d flown on Soviet Aeroflot, or Vietnam Airlines in the late 1970s could attest to.

    Here are the (almost) current Ten Worst, according to The Richest.com, 23 May 2013:

    10. Iberia
    9. Egypt Air
    8. Air China
    7. China Eastern Airlines
    6. China Southern Airlines
    5. US Airlines
    4. Aeroflot Russian Airlines
    3. EasyJet
    2. Spirit Airlines
    1. Ryanair

    Didn’t investigate who owned any of these, but most look government-owned; these is at least one very obvious exception. The Australian reports that Qantas has been looking at code-sharing with nos 6 and 7.

  7. Tim Thorne

    February 27, 2014 at 11:52 pm

    Heard a comment on the radio today (unverified, but someone might check – it should be easy) to the effect that eight of the world’s top ten airlines are government owned.

  8. music lover

    February 27, 2014 at 5:42 pm

    If it was an AFL team Joyce would have been gone years ago. If Qantas had large shareholders they would already have gotten rid of him. Any support from Government has to be linked with a refreshed board.

    The argument being floated that Australian workers need to be paid less to compete with the rest of the world is ridiculous, unless you expect workers to live off $2 a day. Meanwhile the exec and board salaries continue to be bigger proportionally to the average wage then ever before.

  9. mike seabrook

    February 27, 2014 at 4:17 pm

    beyond anyones control now that clive has announced pup senators will not vote to change or abolish the qan legislation & qan will go broke & virgin will effectively “steal ” all qan’s customers for nothing

    expect that richard branson & his virgin hostess’s will be spending big dosh & strongly advocating that tasmanians & west australians vote for the pup candidates in the forthcoming elections.

    who cares anyway – public doesn’t give a toss who owns the airlines

  10. Leonard Colquhoun

    February 27, 2014 at 3:52 pm

    Does it matter all that much, Comment 3? But it does look as if the shadows of the Bridge and on the airplane are in synch (which, of course, could have phopped^ to do that!).

    The bigger question is whether nations like Australia need “national”, aka government-owned and / or managed airlines any more, especially if they are little more than a token of national independence or a symbol of national virility. There is no longer a “jet-set”. These days, local airlines are not much more than flying bus services, and we have never felt the need to have a national bus flag-carrier, a QANTBS.

    Nor is there any need for a nation’s citizens to feel they are letting their country down by not using its flag-carrier.

    Today, that 1966 John Denver song “I’m leaving on a jet-plane” would get “So what?” as a response.

    Two things will end Qantas: (i) the feather-bedding of its work force, with two sets of pay scales for the same sort of work; and (ii) its rules of ownership preventing it getting enough capital to keep going; actually, (i) + (ii).

    Moreover, aerial bus services on the Melbourne-Sydney route might be more economical and more environmentally friendly than building a French-style TGV rail link, especially as flying buses just need two places at each end of their routes, rather 1000kms of very costly 99% quarantined infrastructure, and keeping in mind that a TGV needs airline-level safety for trains belting along at 300 / 350 km/h – imagine a Granville at that speed. (BTW, riding them in France is one of the Seven Wonders of 21st century travel.)

    ^ “phopped”: I’ve just made that portmanteau word up – like it?

  11. Doug Nichols

    February 27, 2014 at 11:16 am

    Is it off-topic to note that the photo is a stunner? I don’t know how much Photoshopping was done to get it just so, but I like the result!

  12. Russell

    February 27, 2014 at 10:58 am

    To nullify that $235million loss QANTAS would only have to shed a handful of jobs at the management end of the company rather than sack 5,000+ on-the-ground workers.

    After all, a company only loses money if its highly paid management fails, not the low-paid workers.

    Despite outsourcing most operations to cheap labour overseas and shedding thousands of local jobs annually for the last five years, the little Irishman has single-handedly overseen the demise of QANTAS as Australia’s flagship. He blames everyone and everything else for his pathetic leadership.

    Across the Tasman, Air New Zealand has just posted a 41% profit increase. Go figure.

  13. TGC

    February 27, 2014 at 12:06 am

    It might help if Senator Nick Xenophon could be persuaded to run Qantas.

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