Qantas boss Alan Joyce has accused unions of ‘trashing’ the brand name and said the company should be ‘congratulated’ for its Asia push.
Unions have accused Qantas of undermining the brand after news the airline will push into Asia at the cost of 1,000 Australian jobs.
CEO Alan Joyce told a news conference this morning by going into Asia the company would be bringing money back into Australia to create new jobs here.
He added the company should be “congratulated” for the move which would create more opportunities in Australia for expansion with its domestic carriers.
Unions will consider industrial action although Alan Joyce has said the company will try and ensure all 1,000 jobs are voluntary redundancies.
Tony Sheldon of the Transport Workers Union accused Qantas of “culling the kangaroo brand” with its restructuring plans.
He said: “Who would think that a board of directors could make a decision to undermine the Qantas brand. Rather than trading on the flying kangaroo they have decided to cull it back.
“Rather than expanding the strength of the Qantas brand they have decided to take it over to Asia at the cost of Australian jobs.”
Alan Joyce has said unions are “trashing” the brand and a “lot of nonsense” was being spoken.
He said despite the company’s impressive profits, it was continuing to spend vast amounts of money on new aircraft.
Greens MP Adam Bandt said he would be meeting with Qantas CEO Alan Joyce to ask questions about the restructure. He added he had concerns the company would be seekig to employ people in Asia at a lower cost.
Qantas today responded to “misleading” claims made by a number of unions about its new international strategy, announced yesterday.
Qantas CEO Alan Joyce said accusations that Qantas was outsourcing and offshoring jobs, and devaluing the Qantas brand, were completely incorrect.
“Qantas is one of the biggest employers in Australia,” Mr Joyce said.
“We employ over 35,000 people and have employees in every state and territory nationwide.
“Of the 1000 positions that will be made redundant, not a single job will be lost as a result of Qantas’plans to invest in a new premium airline in Asia.
“Some of the numbers being quoted today by union leaders of between 5,000 and 10,000 jobs affected are completely unfounded.
“Qantas will always be owned by Australians and have the majority of its operations and employees based here.
“Qantas is the only major airline in the world to do heavy maintenance on aircraft in Australia. None of our competitors does any heavy maintenance in this country.
“The new strategy we announced for Qantas International yesterday is about ensuring that Qantas as a whole is competitive and sustainable for the next 10 years and beyond.
“Trade unions need to explain why they continue to trash the Qantas brand and are opposed to changes which will protect the long-term jobs of the majority of their members.
“We remain prepared to discuss reasonable employment agreements and conditions for all our employees and urge unions to return to the negotiating table.”