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Qantas to fight trade union reactionaries

Allan Joyce’s move to ground the entire Qantas fleet  today was an inevitable attempt to break the backs of trade unionist reactionaries. As a Qantas shareholder I am dismayed at the current outcome but, as Qantas has not paid dividends for a couple of years,  I support attempts to force the airline to gain competitiveness and staying power.  Having pilots paid up to $500,000 – the average is $350,000 – annually is inconsistent with this task and the attempts by maintenance engineers and pilots to trash the Qantas brand suggest that the best outcome for these clowns is to be sacked and then sued. Ungracious, overpaid pilots who lie to me about their employer when I travel on their airline arouse nothing within me but contempt. When a firm is losing $2m per day because of a strike the fact that the CEO is paid $5m per year is irrelevant.  He is worth $20m if he can give these reactionary trade unionists the kick up the backside they so richly deserve.  Qantas sells air services as an internationally traded good and international travellers are voting with their feet to support other airlines which offer cheaper and better quality service.  Domestic air services in Australia remain expensive and the service is anything but great. The Australian travelling public deserve better and Australia needs a viable international carrier not a sheltered workshop.

Already the Labor politicians are shaking in their boots at Joyce’s move because it is hardly a good look for the Labor Government but reading Joyce’s press release I support it.  The Government should keep out of this one. Qantas will fail without decisive action and, even though this might cost me money, I’d prefer to see this fight resolved now – it offers the best prospect for competitiveness reforms.  Pilots, engineers, baggage handlers – accept the need for reform or find yourself new jobs.  As the Qantas AGM showed you have no support among shareholders and the travelling public will see you for the contemptible grasping reactionaries that you are. That you attacked the customer base of Qantas as a negotiating tactic should never be forgotten.

Update Qantas management wins. After two days back to work with further strike action outlawed.

16 comments to Qantas to fight trade union reactionaries

  • anon

    Don’t you support the Prime minster, Professor?

    Greens Leader Bob Brown sided with the unions, demanding Ms Gillard press Qantas management over the strike.

    “This lock out is also a sell out of the spirit of Australia,” Senator Brown said today.

    “It is a multi-millionaire’s lock out of responsible decent pilots, crew and other staff whose work gives Australia the world’s best airline.

    “This lock out is about exporting Qantas to a world of lower cost, lower services values and lower safety. The Government should stand up to Qantas’ selfish top brass,” Senator Brown said.

    Prime Minister Bob Brown.

  • hc

    Why the snarky tone Anon? Why would you ever imagine I would support Bob Brown on this one?

    Your tone reminds me of one of the blogoshere’s worst trolls. I’ll check it out.

  • KB Keynes

    hmm,
    Virgin was able to negotiate flexibility in their EBA. Perhaps a CEO who gains an increase of over 70% which was made mainly on comparative wage justice doesn’t have the credibility to negotiate anything

  • KB Keynes

    I cannot believe Harry wrote this after reading a press release.Well actually I can.

  • Keynes, I don’t see how comparative wage justice was the basis of anything please explain?

    I don’t pretend to defend or argue on executive salaries however the Qantas annual report goes into some detail and at least a component is a timing issue related to payments from the previous year being rolled over into an incentive scheme. Ex performance incentives based on black scholes valuations at date of issue and still, presumably, at risk, I think his cash salary may actually have fallen?

    Apart from a PR sense it may be an issue in itself but not relevant to the specific IR issues here?

  • conrad

    “Allan Joyce’s move to ground the entire Qantas fleet today was an inevitable attempt to break the backs of trade unionist reactionaries.”

    Surely they could have found a better way than this — it’s like trying to squash mosquitoes with a sledgehammer. As it happens, I already don’t take Qantas (or BA and Air France) because they go on strike too much, and this incident just makes it worse. Now I know I might have to put with potential non-service due to both the staff and the silly management (in addition to worse service than Singapore and Cathay). God knows how long it will take them to build their reputation back.

    Incidentally, given that airlines have huge capital inputs and are always at the forefront of being at the mercy of global problems as well as generalling making SFA in terms of profits around the world (or at least that’s been the trend for donkeys years), I’m surprised you buy their shares. Surely you can think of better investments than that — Qantas currently has a P/E higher than BHP, for example.

  • KB Keynes

    Kitchewhatever,

    comparative wage justice is simply using the excuse this package is used in this industry so we must adopt our industry. This is what the market is telling us to do etc etc.

    Take away CEO and the package. substitute electrician and salary. If electricians were being paid ‘market rates’ at Singapore Airlines this cannot be used in wage negotiations.

    Nor should CEOs or Senior Management be able to.

  • Keynes, unlike your namesake, your response is neither literate nor sensible.

  • KB Keynes

    if you do not understand the topic then go to ne you do.

    By the way the comparative wage justice excuse was used at the AGM

  • Judith Sloan

    If you bothered to look at the Qantas Remuneration Report KB Keynes, you would realise that Joyce’s actual pay went down by 9 per cent in the year 2010-11; by 30 per cent in the year before that; and 20 per cent in the year before that again. Arcane accounting standards produce misleading results. 96 per cent of shareholders voted in favour of the Rem Report and all the proxy advisers endorsed it. Joyce is actually underpaid in comparative terms.

    As to why the unions would cut Virgin Australia a much more favourable deal – including a three year wage freeze, access to labour hire workers and contractors – is anyone’s guess. Maybe they want to send Qantas out of business. And Virgin Australia does NO heavy maintenance at all in Australia so there is not much work for ALAEA members. Why don’t they scream about that?

  • TerjeP

    Pretty spot on Harry.

  • KB Keynes

    so it his salary should have. how it increased is a mystery.

    wonderful excuse for it as well.

    comparative wage justice is not allowed for ordinary workers but is almost the only reason for salary packages increasing for senior management

  • rog

    One could be easily persuaded that the Sloan Ranger wouldn’t know a remuneration report if it bit her on the leg, no amount of charity can lend credibility to the bizarre statement that Joyce took a pay cut.

    Over in Catallaxy such gibberish is passed off as normal if not brilliant and worthy of several hundred inane and unrelated comments.

  • hc

    Is Judith factually incorrect Rog?

  • rog

    Yes and no Harry, Joyce’s pay ie actual cash was $1.96m in 2010 and $2.045M in 2011 and total remuneration of $2.924M in 2010 and $5.008M in 2011 but “total vested remuneration” actually decreased in 2011 mostly due to accounting adjustments for share based payments and long service leave. Then were further adjustments for annual leave and car allowance, etc.

    A substantial proportion of Joyce’s remuneration is subject to “performance hurdles” and on occasion he has lost the rights due to failure to meet those performance hurdles.

    The 71% increase in pay was largely due to the Boards decision to not pay Joyce a cash bonus in 2010; they elected to transfer that amount into restricted shares. Had he been paid the STIP in 2010 the variation would have been less noticeable.

  • Uncle Milton

    “96 per cent of shareholders voted in favour of the Rem Report”

    Apart from the odd retiree who goes to AGMs, these shareholders are funds managers who benefit from the same rorted system of executive salary benchmarking. Of course they voted for it. Ditto the board remuneration committees who recommend the CEO’s salary. It’s one big mutually reinforcing gravy train.

    On the substantive issue, there is no reason for the government not to allow any air-worthy airline to service the Australian domestic market. Let Allan Joyce face real competition in his hitherto protected patch. Then he really will earn his money. If the unions are far sighted they will realise that competition will grow the market and the number of jobs for people flying and servicing planes.

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