After a cost-cutting decision to outsource the bulk of its ground-handling activities, Qantas has announced thousands of ground workers would lose their jobs.
As part of its organisational overhaul to insure that the flying kangaroo will stay in the sky beyond the coronavirus pandemic, the troubled airline has announced 2000 jobs will be axed across 10 Australian airports.
Qantas’s decision comes after months of operational reviews that started in August to minimise the size of the group due to the health crisis following subdued travel numbers.
The announcement on Monday takes the overall job losses at Qantas to nearly 8500 of its 29,000 pre-pandemic workforce.
Foreign and domestic operations in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane are among the airports affected. Ground services have also been cut in Perth, Adelaide, Canberra, Cairns, Darwin, Townsville and Alice Springs.
“This is another tough day for Qantas, particularly for our ground-handling teams and their families,” Qantas chief executive of domestic and international operations Andrew David said.
“Unfortunately, COVID has turned aviation upside down. Airlines around the world are having to make dramatic decisions in order to survive, and the damage will take years to repair.”
The Transport Workers’ Union (TWU) said it was a “dark day” for the industry, with more families across Australia facing grim prospects of joining the Centrelink queue.
“Qantas has spent hundreds of millions in training these workers up over decades to achieve high standards, and the idea of pushing them out the door to replace them with less-trained workers on lower conditions is sickening,” the TWU national secretary said.
“To suggest this bid and its cost savings was ‘theoretical’ is an absolute insult to the time and effort which has been put in by workers.”