Qantas announce thousands of job losses

'It's not unusual to have several members of one family working at Qantas and Jetstar'

Qantas announce thousands of job losses

Qantas has announced it is cutting at least 6,000 jobs across all parts of the business and will continue to stand down 15,000 employees to deal with a reduced flight network.

Australia's national carrier said it will ground at least 100 aircraft for up to 12 months and reduce $15 billion in costs over the next three years as part of its recovery plan. It is also raising $1.9 billion through a share sale.

There were around 30,000 employees at last count, meaning about 20 per cent of them will be made redundant and the majority of workers at Qantas are affected.

Many of the stood down employees face a long wait until the airline has work for them again (particularly with regards to international travel).

Qantas Group CEO, Alan Joyce said many of the 6,000 job losses are people who have spent decades at the airline.

“It’s not unusual to have several members of one family working at Qantas and Jetstar,” said Joyce.

“What makes this even harder is that right before this crisis hit, we were actively recruiting. We were gearing up for Project Sunrise. We were getting ready to buy planes.

“Now, we’re facing a sudden reversal of fortune that is no one’s fault – but is very hard to accept. Across the world, airlines are shrinking by up to 50 per cent.”

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To avoid anything on this scale, Joyce said the airline will be extending the stand down for a large number of workers as they wait for the recovery.

“Around half of those stood down will be back flying domestically – we think – by the end of the year. The remainder – mostly, those supporting international flying – will return more slowly,” said Joyce.

“Thousands of Qantas and Jetstar people have already found secondary employment during stand down. And the feedback from those employers is incredibly positive.

“For many of our people on stand down, JobKeeper has made all the difference. We’re having good discussions with the government about possibly extending Jobkeeper, or some other form of support, for those in the aviation industry who will be stood down for an extended period.”

Joyce added that Qantas are also in dialogue with state and territory governments about their border openings – because once that happens, they can get more of their people back to work.

“We will do the best we can to manage the impact on those leaving the Qantas Group, and those on continued stand down. We’ll offer voluntary – rather than compulsory – redundancies as much as possible.

“We’ll give support for career transition. And for those stood down, we’ll give ongoing access to long service and annual leave, as well as our welfare programs.

“We will consult with relevant unions over the coming days and weeks – who are well aware of the challenges facing the industry and, I hope, are ready to work with us.”

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Michele O'Neil, President of the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU), said their thoughts are with all Qantas workers and their families “at this incredibly difficult time”.

“Instead of cutting workers’ jobs and continuing standdowns, Alan Joyce should redouble efforts to secure urgent government intervention in the aviation industry and the extension of JobKeeper, and look to draw on reserves including existing subsidies,” said O’Neil.

“Scott Morrison’s ongoing refusal to extend JobKeeper to aviation workers has crippled the industry and left thousands of workers without any support.

“Morrison must act immediately to extend JobKeeper, deliver a direct and urgent industry assistance package, and convene crisis talks immediately.”

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