Despite a $1.6 billion profit and government stimulus, Qantas is standing down its workforce

As a result of the coronavirus, Qantas has decided to cut international flights and two-thirds of its workforce, citing a period without pay as ‘inevitable’.

 

 

This morning, Qantas has issued another press release, this time claiming that they’ve suspended all international flights. Domestic flights will be reduced by 60% until May 2020. As a result, the airline will be standing down the majority of its 30,000 staff. They also noted that a period will be without pay, citing that situation as an inevitability.

Per the release, “Employees with low leave balances at the start of the stand down will be able to access up to four weeks’ leave in advance of earning it. Unfortunately, periods of leave without pay for some employees are inevitable.”

According to CEO Alan Joyce, “We’re in a strong financial position right now, but our wages bill is more than $4 billion a year. With the huge drop in revenue we’re facing, we have to make difficult decisions to guarantee the future of the national carrier.

“The reality is we’ll have 150 aircraft on the ground and sadly there’s no work for most of our people. Rather than lose these highly skilled employees who we’ll need when this crisis passes, we are instead standing down two-thirds of our 30,000 employees until at least the end of May.”

“Most of our people will be using various types of paid leave during this time, and we’ll have a number of support options in place. We’re also talking to our partners like Woolworths about temporary job opportunities for our people.”

Now, while I’m not accusing the airline of telling lies, it’s probably worth mentioning that it made $1.3 billion profit last financial year before tax. As for how much tax they actually paid last year, we don’t know. However, The New Daily spoke to Qantas in 2018, after the company raked in $1.6 billion in profit. According to that publication’s tabulations, the airline paid roughly $4 million in tax.

It’s also worth mentioning that the airline industry is set to receive $715 million in taxpayer funds (backdated to February 1) as part of the Morrison government’s stimulus package.

 

 

According to estimates, Joyce earns $24 million a year, which averages out to $67,415 a day. The ABS figures the median annual salary in Australia to be $48,360.

 

As we reported earlier this month, Joyce will take no salary until the end of the year. On the surface, it seems to come from a place of charity, but scratch back a layer, and the ugliness comes to the surface. The fact that someone can elect not to be paid for three months and not ruin them financially is saying something.

According to estimates, Joyce earns $24 million a year, which averages out to $67,415 a day. The ABS figures the median annual salary in Australia to be $48,360. It’s an obscene amount of money.

In the same statement, Joyce addressed his staff, stating: “When revenue falls you need to cut costs, and reducing the amount of flying we do is the best way for us to do that. Less flying means less work for our people, but we know coronavirus will pass and we want to avoid job losses wherever possible. We’re asking our people to use their paid leave and, if they can, consider taking some unpaid leave given we’re flying a lot less.”

The question, of course, is where is the money?

 

 

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