Qantas has revealed it will axe thousands of jobs after a decision to outsource the majority of its ground-handling operations.
The embattled airline today confirmed that it had notified 2000 employees from 10 Australian airports after rejecting an in-house bid from a union representing ground staff.
The redundancies are expected to be completed in the coming months and bring the total number of Qantas workers being laid off since the coronavirus pandemic to 8500 – almost a third of its pre-pandemic workforce.
The jobs affected are at 10 airports around the country and impact ground operations workers including ground crew, aircraft cleaners and baggage handlers.
Airports in Adelaide, Alice Springs, Brisbane, Cairns, Canberra, Melbourne, Darwin, Perth, Sydney and Townsville are those affected by the operational overhaul.
Qantas COVID-19 jobs toll climbs over 8500
The plan to axe operational jobs was first flagged in August when the national carrier said it needed to restructure its ground handling operations to meet the economic and financial challenges brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.
Qantas’ COVID-19 jobs toll has now climbed to around 8500 after months of operational reviews aimed at saving the national carrier $100 million a year, as it continues to navigate a travel industry devastated by the coronavirus pandemic.
“Today’s announcement follows a $2.7 billion statutory loss for the Group in FY20 due to COVID-19 and associated border restrictions,” Qantas said in a statement on Monday.
“Further significant losses are projected in FY21 due to a drop of revenue in excess of $10 billion.
“Since the beginning of the pandemic, the Qantas Group has taken on in excess of $1.5 billion in additional debt.”
The Transport Workers’ Union had submitted a bid on behalf of Qantas workers in accordance with terms in an enterprise agreement.
Teams from some individual airports submitted local proposals.
“Unfortunately, none of these bids met the objectives,” Qantas said in a statement on Monday.
The decision means job losses across the group as a result of the COVID-19 crisis and associated border closures total around 8500 of its 29,000 pre-COVID workforce.
“The TWU’s in-house bid claimed that significant savings could be made,” Qantas Domestic and International CEO Andrew David said.
“But it failed to outline sufficient practical detail on how this might be achieved, despite us requesting this information multiple times throughout the process.
“Even with the involvement of a large accounting firm, the bid falls well short of what the specialist external providers were able to come up with.”
David said it was another tough day for Qantas, and particularly ground handling teams and their families.
“We thank every one of them for their professionalism and contribution over the years supporting our customers and operations,” he said.
The group in June sacked 6000 workers as part of a three-year plan to slash costs by $15 billion.
It raised $1.36 billion from institutional investors in June, and $71.7 million from retail investors in August.
Jetstar will also outsource ground handling at six airports – Adelaide, Avalon, Brisbane, Cairns, Melbourne and Sydney Domestic – impacting about 370 jobs.
– with AAP