Tie the Kangaroo down, Joyce

Jesus motherloving Christ. If Alan Joyce is making a late bid for Twat of the Year 2011, then he’s eating daylight on his competitors. On Saturday the Qantas CEO shut down worldwide operations of one of the planet’s biggest airlines, in an over-reaction that made King Lear look pretty chill.

Like one of those seasoned chooks you get all ready for roasting, some things come pre-satirised. On Friday, Joyce asked shareholders at Qantas’ annual general meeting to give him a pay rise of 71 percent, from under $3 million a year to about $5 million. They did. The next day, he shut down their company entirely, because of the “extreme demands” of workers. First prize, Alan. Believe.

Where unions have to give 72 hours notice of any action, Joyce gave zero hours. He stranded 68,000 people worldwide, upended the plans of tens of thousands more, and lost an unquantifiable number of future bookings.

And why? To force an advantage in an industrial dispute that was nowhere near crisis point. To stand on a milk crate in a pissing contest. And he got just the elevation he was after. An emergency sitting of the Fair Work Australia tribunal handed down its orders at about 2.30 this morning, terminating all Qantas industrial action – both the grounding and any strikes by unions. This was just what Qantas counsel had campaigned for from minute one of the hearing.

Planes could be up as early as this afternoon. But the scope of cancellations to date has already seen foreign leaders miss connections home from CHOGM. It will leave a huge dent in the Spring Racing Carnival, one of Victoria’s biggest weeks for tourism. 300 remote area doctors were stuck in Alice Springs with no way to reach their patients. And it happened to be smack bang in the middle of what is for many people a five-day weekend.

From all appearances, Joyce timed it to cause as much damage and disruption as possible. He gave no warning deliberately. He knew the chaos his airline could cause, and how much pressure it would place on the government. “Qantas apologise for any inconvenience caused” should be met with a hiss. The amount of inconvenience caused has been carefully maximised.

Imagine for a second that unions had shut down the airline without a minute’s forewarning. There would be calls for them to be criminally liable. For them to be disbanded. The Opposition would be tearing into the government tooth and claw.

Joyce wants to blame unions regardless, but it won’t save his reputation, nor that of Qantas. In his media blitz yesterday, as repercussions manifested in the form of stressed, worn, and teary passengers, Joyce was standing among the wreckage of the company he’s supposed to run, congratulating himself on his “bold decision”. Here was a man who wanted to get rid of the possums in his roof, so called in a napalm strike.

The reek of ego, rutting in the streets and smearing its musk on mailboxes, is the inescapable odour wafting through Melbourne’s streets in these quiet hours before dawn. From his comments on Sunday, Joyce was tired of negotiating. Manufacturing a crisis gave him a chance to skip it. He clearly believes the FWA intervention will get his preferred result.

Qantas and the three unions in question now have three weeks to reach agreement before having one imposed on them by FWA. But with Joyce’s muscle-flex having demonstrated just how firmly he can twist the national arm behind its back, the odds for something favouring Qantas management look good.

But the most offensive thing isn’t disruption. These things happen, sometimes for the best of reasons. For mine, the offensive thing is Joyce’s level of spin. Yes, a part of Spring Carnival is the unmistakable tang of horseshit in the air. It’s just not usually contingent on a Qantas CEO opening his mouth.

For starters, Joyce lumps all three unions together: those of the engineers (ALAEA), the baggage handlers (TWU), and the long-haul pilots (AIPA). He tries to claim they have forced this decision, with rolling strikes in recent months costing $68 million, and an unsustainable wage demand.

Yet the pilots’ association has made no pay claim, nor taken any strike action. Their campaign, completely separate to those of the other unions, is about insisting that Qantas-trained pilots are used to fly Qantas-branded planes, rather than using cheaper offshore replacements.

In AIPA’s first industrial action in 44 years, the extent of the campaign has been to wear red ties bearing a slogan, and to mention the campaign in their pre-flight announcements. They haven’t delayed a single flight to date.

As for the rest of the strike, the TWU has recorded just six hours of industrial action in the past eight months. And according to the Daily Telegraph, a full month of industrial action by engineers in September still saw Qantas cancel fewer flights than the unaffected Jetstar.

I interviewed a Qantas domestic pilot on Saturday evening, who unsurprisingly asked not to be named. He claims limited industrial action can even suit management. “It gives the airline a chance to cancel whichever flights they want. Airlines cancel flights all the time for various reasons, like if a flight’s not full enough. It gives them a nice excuse to hand out to the public.”

No wonder everyone was blindsided. Action was still relatively minor. Qantas had not even suggested government mediation, the logical step when negotiations aren’t going well. It appears that Joyce decided it was beneath him to participate.

And where his magical $68 million loss comes from is as mysterious as Joyce’s other accounting. According to Joyce yesterday, his pay rise wasn’t really a pay rise. According to Joyce a few months back, 1000 Qantas jobs would be lost offshore. According to Joyce this weekend, that number was zero. As my pilot interviewee said, “He’s a mathematician, but he hasn’t done anything to show that he has the qualifications.”

Of course, it’s the offshore threat that is the sticking point in negotiations, with unions wanting some guarantee this won’t happen. Joyce’s plans are for exactly that to happen.

You can see the model with Qantas’ New Zealand routes: planes with Qantas flight numbers, Qantas paintwork, and Qantas uniforms, but staffed entirely by New Zealanders employed by a Qantas front called Jetconnect. The difference? Staff cost 40 percent less, receiving NZ dollars on an NZ pay scale.

You can extrapolate, then, what Joyce’s plans for a large Qantas subsidiary based in Asia would mean. If you think the exchange rate is good in Auckland, try Kuala Lumpur. Try Bangkok. Jetstar, which Joyce used to run, is already using Thai crew, who cost a couple of hundred bucks a month. An Australian would earn that in a day.

No wonder they quietly withdrew that John Travolta safety video. “There’s no-one I’d rather have at the controls than a Qantas pilot,” said the man who played Vincent Vega. Union scum.

In grounding the fleet with no warning, Joyce and his board showed utter disregard for their employees, their shareholders, and their public. Even a couple of days’ notice would have ameliorated the consequences.

Truly remarkable, isn’t it, that it didn’t occur to Joyce to mention the prospect at the AGM. As the Financial Review’s Marcus Priest wrote, “There will be some interesting questions of corporate disclosure and directors’ duties to be explored in any subsequent legal proceedings.”

But this is where his other great dance begins: regarding premeditation. Joyce claims that he and the board only decided on the lockout scheme on Saturday morning. It was in effect by 5 pm. Mate, it takes me longer than that to organise knock-off drinks.

Pilot union vice-president Richard Woodward says Qantas were booking thousands of hotel rooms days or even weeks ago to accommodate stranded passengers. At Saturday night’s initial FWA hearing, counsel for the APIA and the TWU requested documents which showed the pre-existence of plans. Qantas, surprisingly, opposed the move. Nothing to hide…

Counsel for Qantas Frank Parry also complained that in potentially being ordered to continue negotiations, “Qantas has been dragged in here at short notice and been presented with an untenable alternative”.

Barman, I’ll have a Bullshitski. You want short notice, talk to the people whose planes were recalled as they were taxiing to the runway. Ask the woman rushing to see her father before he died. The only party with any notice was Qantas – as much notice as they liked, since it was up to them to pick the date.

The denials, in the end, are impossibly juvenile. We’ve got a kid arm-deep in the cookie jar while querying the existence of baked goods. This is the way of Joyce’s regime. Just listen to his Inside Business interview with Alan Kohler – every single answer starts with a refutation. Everything is justified. Poor brave Alan made the difficult decision. That’s why they pay him the big bucks. And if you want a culprit, those bloody unions are to blame.

Of course, those of a certain view will always find a way to blame unions. The unions faked the moon landings. The unions gave me herpes. Union dingoes took my baby. The unions are the reason why my kids hate me and my wife never quite looks me in the eye anymore.

It’s all their fault. Oh, and sorry, for punching you in the face repeatedly, but I couldn’t solve the crossword this morning, so, take it up with The Times.

Even the great Americain, dropping a few horse-apples as he heads out to early trackwork this morning, can’t match the size of these Joycean steamers. A company which has not even asked for arbitration can’t suddenly claim last resort. A guy who initiates crisis can’t deflect responsibility.

“They are trashing our strategy and our brand. They must decide just how badly they want to hurt Qantas, their members… and the travelling public.” Said the man who shut down the airline. Said the man who fisted every customer for his own tactical advantage. Said the man who made headlines in papers round the world for the worst possible reason.

See? The bloke must have a beef with workers. He’s trying to put satirists out of a job as well.

 

 

 

This piece was originally published on The Punch.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

66 Responses to Tie the Kangaroo down, Joyce

  1. Omar says:

    “We’ve got a kid arm-deep in the cookie jar while querying the existence of baked goods.” That’s a fucking great line.

    Take a bow.

  2. Stacy says:

    Stick the boot in Geoff.

    As a Qantas casualty yesterday I felt an overwhelming sense of disgust when I heard Alan Joyce claim this morning that “its a win for the customers”. What exactly did I win yesterday? A day of frantically trying to re-book my flights, while being informed by online vendors that they won’t book flights departing within 48 hours? Lucky me. Apologies for the inconvenience… if you want to re-schedule your flights with us it will be at least a week before we can get you to Sydney. Sorry about that. Don’t forget to fly with us again!

    I might have to buy my lunch on the plane when I fly to Auckland tomorrow and hang around in a woefully boring excuse for an airport for 7 hours, but it’ll be a lot less inconvenient than the spoilt little brat who calls himself a CEO picking up all his toys and going home for the weekend.

    I can’t participate in a discussion about which side was right, my bias lies directly on the fact that for no error on my part I was denied access to a flight because a CEO and his workers are having a tiff. I’m mighty pissed off about that right now but glad that in my case I could afford to lose a day of travel, I feel much sympathy for those who couldn’t and missed out on a trip they planned months ago.

  3. Richard says:

    My thoughts exactly, was watching him on tv yesterday and was literally cringing at the words coming out of his mouth.

  4. Gramma says:

    Fucking brilliant, Geoff. Exactly what I was thinking. I’m going to do my best to never fly Qantas or Jetstar while he is at the helm. What a cunt.

    • Scott Hillard says:

      Ah, so you’ll be flying Virgin then – where the staff are pretty much universally paid less than those at Qantas? Solidarity forever, comrade….

  5. Pingback: Stranded « The Purple Giraffes

  6. Brett says:

    Perfectly put.

  7. Sly says:

    If only Robert Doyle had hung off for week. AJ could have taken title, Twat doesnt do him justice. This guy is prime , 100%, no holds barred, quality, four leaf c>>>t.

  8. Jen says:

    Oh Geoff, please don’t tell my boyfriend but I think I love you, well your brain at least and please, if you wouldn’t mind running for Prime Minister that’d be really good too. I can see it now…. The Lemon Party…… I’d even approve of you as a Benevolent Dictator if you’d promise to send Mr Joyce away… far away….. (you could seat him next to Robert Doyle) on a Virgin Australia flight.

    • Marmalade says:

      The Lemon Party is *not* a good name for an aspirant political organisation, Jen. Google image will certainly point out why, but please don’t satiate your curiosity at work, or in front of your Nanna.

      • Greg says:

        The Lemon Party is a fantastic name. Nothing like using a double entendre for the name of a political party started by a satirist.

  9. Skeet says:

    “these Joycean steamers.”

    Between Alan and Barnaby, a whole new take on the word ‘Joycean’ has emerged.

  10. Diane says:

    Excellent piece – but will anyone listen. As long as the government continues to offer free skies to all and sundry and australians keep demanding cheap deals this type of hostage taking will continue – even china, a communist country protects Cathay Airlines bottom line and emirates pays no tax so already there international arm is streets ahead of qantas. There are no winners today – qantas unless the government steps in and makes it an even playing field, needs to outsource to Asia and workers will lose their jobs

  11. JR says:

    The Lemon Party! For the absolute win!

  12. Steve says:

    Nice article. I don’t like Joyce much, let alone his stinkingly unjustifiable pay rise, but:

    (Apparantly) Qantas ground staff earn around $75K, to sort baggage.
    Engineers earn around $125K, and long haul pilots more than $200K.
    That sounds okay to me.

    They’re the highest paid in the industry in Australia, and they want pay rises, and they want gauranteed jobs.

    They don’t work for a charity; they work for a business. If that business can save money by outsourcing outside of Australia, should the business pretend it is a charity? A business owes no worker a gauranteed job. It shouldn’t have to, and it can’t.

    Australia does not exist in a vaccum. It’s connected to Asia by a short stretch of ocean.

    • Chelsea says:

      I don’t have a source for this (my apologies), but I’ve been told that that $75K figure for the baggage-handlers was based on the salary of someone, hypothetically at least, working a 60-hour week (so it includes overtime hours), plus working on public holidays.

    • Michael says:

      And about that $5m pay packet Joycey takes home? Is that not a $4.75m “charity” hand-out?

      • Steve says:

        Good question. I initially considered it unjustified based on a cost of living increase of only 5%, say – it far outstrips cost of living increases.

        But if Joyce is able to make the company more profitable, more efficient, more effective etc, perhaps he does deserve a bonus. Maybe he wields more much leverage, able to make greater contributions to the bottom line? Maybe he doesn’t.

        I have no idea if Joyce has actually increased revenue, efficiency, effectiveness, quality, profit etc. Does anyone know this?

        In retrospect, if my CEO increased revenue, or profit, I’d be happy to reward him for that, on top of his base salary.

        I read that even with his recent bonus of 70 odd percent (in shares – which I believe is awarded only if he meets performance benchmarks), he is still paid less than other airline CEOs. I guess this may be beside the point if everyone else’s salary in Qantas has not matched cost of living increases which Qantas could afford.

        • Anfalicious says:

          OK he’s increased profit, but for how long? He could sell off the entire fleet and have the best quarter in the company’s history. I fly Qantas domestic because I don’t mind paying extra for that little bit of extra leg room, the drinks, the extra luggage and the closer departure gate. Joyce is seemingly trying to position Qantas to compete against Jetstar… We’ll see how good that decision was in five years time.

    • Will says:

      The salaries you’ve quoted are pretty bogus but I agree that they are free to recruit from wherever they like, but they can’t cry ‘AUSTRALIA!’ whenever they feel threatened. They are not an Australian business anymore, so Australians need to grow up & not expect their government to defend an International corporation from Australian unions. It WAS Australian but that’s over, they’re as Australian as Virgin, let it go.

    • Cameron says:

      I have worked with ex-Qantas engineers who always said they had industry leading conditions there and aside from the location (Sydney Airport) and start hours it was fantastic. I don’t agree with a need for pay rises though do agree with keeping the jobs in Australia, the last thing I want is to get on an Aussie airline and feel that I have coughed up big bucks for an Asian carrier complete with hard to understand staff, poor maintenance and low standard of service – I have flown those years ago to save money and now pay for reliable Australian service from Qantas…not what they are proposing to offer.

      And I think there isn’t anything more cuntly than cutting services and counting pennies whilst getting such an unjustifiably huge pay rise, what a tool!

      I just hope there is someone opportunistic enough to sue him directly for damages from this unjustifiable and unanticipated action.

      • Oz realist says:

        “Asian carrier complete with hard to understand staff, poor maintenance and low standard of service”

        Have you actually flown with Cathay, Singapore or Thai, fabulous levels of service, safety second to none & wonderful staff. I haven’t flown Qantas for years as I got heartily sick of them. You may want to wrap your patriotism in mediocrity but I had enough years ago. Whilst no fan of Joyce & this action Australians need to realise that its high time we stopped paying way over the odds to people with a marginal skill set. Its why we pay way over the odds for many of our services & manufactured goods (i.e. Cars). Its a hungry world out there & we either compete or die.

        • Pappa G says:

          There is a big difference though between those airlines and Qantas. Both Thai and Singapore are part government owned. And i believe Geoff was referring to the budget asia airlines

        • Frequent Flyer says:

          Couldn’t agree with you more. Singapore, Ethiad and Cathay leave Qantas for dead in all areas, service, meals, staff and baggage handling in Singapore compared to Australian airports is unbvelievable. The bags are actually on the belt before you pass through customs !

          Not to mention the quality of the seats and the inflight entertainment selection. Common Qantas – you are no longer anywhere near the same standard as these airlines. Perhaps if you offered a premium service and in flight quality you could charge the premium prices you need to cover your cost base.

        • Anfalicious says:

          Australians need to realise that its high time we stopped paying way over the odds to people with a marginal skill set.

          I agree, it would be great to see CEO salaries drop by about 90%

    • Pete says:

      I think all this talk about pay and conditions is missing the point. There are ways to handle industrial disputes. Alan’s approach demonstrates a belief that he is above all that and should get exactly what he wants. This is an appalling attitude for someone holding so much power. If our political leaders behaved this way there’d be hell to pay. He’s acting like he’s king and it appears to be true.

      • Steve says:

        Can someone explain the logic behind the employer being more likely to receive a favourable outcome from arbitration? If there is clear logic to it, perhaps the arbitration process needs to be scrutinised.

        If negotiations have continually failed, with neither party willing to concede ground, what should you do? Should the two sides continue to thrash around with no agreement in sight, or could a 3rd party be engaged to handle the dispute?

        If grounding the airline was the only way Qantas could have a (hopefully nuetral) arbitration occur, then perhaps the way intractable industrial disputes are handled needs to be scrutinised.

        • Steve says:

          If unions are demanding pay rises that simply meet the rises in cost of living (while salaries have remained stagnant), and the company is healthy, profitable, and has positive growth, why should the company be immune from raising salaries to meet economy-wide cost of living increases?

          Could that become part of law, just as employer superannuation contributions are?

  13. Josh says:

    Fantastic article, mate. The thing that sickens me is the number of Aussies who will disagree with you and swallow the “the unions just want more money” line that News Ltd. is feeding everyone.

  14. tinatoerat says:

    love ya work, Geoff. Would like to share it on fb, but to do that I have to hand over my dna to networked blogs. So not today.

  15. Ben says:

    @ Steve, that’s not accurate of the QANTAS ground staff. The TWU represents baggage handlers who earn $38,000 a year and are dependent on overtime to make up a liveable wage. It didn’t need Alan to pay himself 5 mill to make his claim that the union’s inflationary wage claim of 2.5% was ‘unreasonable’ appear a steaming pile of Joyce, but it sure helps…

    • Scott Hillard says:

      PARTLY true Ben, but the fact is that like the Police, Fire Brigade, Prison officers, mine workers, etc “overtime” is essentially part of the base package for the baggage handlers. You may as well cry over the salespeople at the local Hardly Normal who only earn minimum wage and are dependent on commission to make up a liveable wage.

      • Amanda Robertson says:

        If people need to work well over 40 hours per week or have to work extremely anti-social hours in order to earn a liveable wage, then they are not well paid and it is disingenuous to pretend that they are.

        • Scott Hillard says:

          I would suggest that $80k+ for throwing a few bags around (and donning the odd camel suit or smuggling the odd bit of smack), and $150k+ for flying 2-4 days a week was slightly more than a “liveable” wage, and worth the odd anti-social shift.

          Curious that the unions are happy for the workers at Virgin, JetStar, Tiger, Rex, etc to be paid considerably less to do the same jobs – eh?

          • geoff lemon says:

            If you inflate your arguments too much, Scott, they blow up…

            Given a baggage handler’s base rate (I’ve read figures between $38 and $45k), just how much overtime they would have to put in to reach $80+? I’d class that as more than “the odd anti-social” shift. It’s living your life at work. As for international pilots, they’re responsible for 300 or more lives every time they get in the cockpit, and bear all the weight if something goes wrong. I’m very happy for whoever’s flying my plane to be on the best salary package going around.

            If there’s enough money to give the boss a payrise, there should be enough for everyone. That’s called leading by example.

          • jabba says:

            A retired USMC General, who signed on as CEO of a flailing company, and soon had it rampaging to success, was asked at a press conference what the key to his success was. He replied simply with the roman maxim: “First the horses, then the men, then the officers eat last.” it’s not hard, but the pervasive bullshit sense of entitlement some people have makes it so f@#*ing hard…

  16. Beth Fleming says:

    Thank you for this excellent article.
    I am grateful too, for the information that I don’t find elsewhere.
    Alan Joyce has the respect of no-one. He shows an absolute lack of decency.
    Timing also hurt CHOGM ,,, world leaders were not even a consideration for this man. !!
    It is appalling how many people were hurt by his actions and how much financial damage was done. The financial damage will be ongoing.
    It is sad that he has lived here for so long and did not even take into consideration the impact his actions would also have on the Melbourne Cup weekend, a major sporting event in Australia. which is also a major financial time for Victoria.
    In a country where I sometimes despair that there is little to celebrate,,, he has managed to inflict enormous damage and harm.

    I too, genuinely wish that you were in Government. There is unfortunately little evidence there, that intelligent people want to be elected…… (let alone any who can speak well.)
    …..
    I often say that I would like to work for St. Peter (perhaps not yet). I would love to be standing next to him, if Alan Joyce attempts to enter Heaven.
    I think that there is no hope for him and that Karma will very soon, bite him in the arse.

    Look after your self , and rest.

    • Scott Hillard says:

      Well Beth, it seems that he has the respect of QF shareholders, and a great many customers (I’m a minor shareholder, somewhat less minor customer). The overwhelming endorsement he and his strategy received at the AGM pretty much set the lock-out in motion. Yes, many were inconvenienced (myself included) – but many have also been inconvenienced by the lazy union bums (myself included). At least the inconvenience – regardless of the source – is now at an end. Karma? You believe in Karma? Do you also believe in fairies?

      • Steph says:

        Pray tell, how did the lazy union bums inconvenience you? Were those naughty pilots wearing naughty ties? Oh heavens you didn’t have to wait for an hour because the baggage handlers were having a meeting that they are legally allowed to have did you? Because Qantas didn’t take steps to provide relief workers during those hours – which they knew about well in advance?
        Those lazy nasty unions – what have they ever done for the world? Oh wait…
        Seriously, where do you think your standard of living comes from? The reason we have OH&S standards? Decent wages? Decent working hours? Minimum standards of training and minimum ages for work (I mean, I do miss the good old days of child labour)? Unions you moron. Go look up a history book.

  17. badblood says:

    Damn. This post *defines* the word ‘scathing’. Love your work!

  18. saskia says:

    Thanks, Geoff, another excellent bit of writing … i think this whole thing is the tip of an iceberg designed to sink Qantas as we know it … sure, we are part of a larger market. By why can’t we keep a good thing, just as it is. When is the dollar going to stop being the bottom line. Why isn’t it about the employees and the customers? FFS, in this climate of world wide social change begging itself to be heard, Alan Joyce is a ridiculous twat.

    Oh and Geoff, i love you.

  19. Scott Hillard says:

    Just curious – how many of those shedding crocodile tears over “Aussie jobs” buy their books from Amazon rather than the local Angus & Robertson, buy music from iTunes instead of the local Sanity…..etc, etc, etc. And how many would be prepared to pay 2-3 times as much as a competitor fare to fly Qantas, whilst it props up an unsustainable, uncompetetive cost base? The world has moved on from the cozy Ansett/ Qantas duopoly (and remember what the unions did to Ansett….) – time to compete or die, boys. I also wonder why nobody takes the unions to task for their basically racist message – asian monkey-men can’t maintain complex machines as well as true-blue Aussies. Now, remind me, members of which local union packed the escape slides into those Ansett planes the wrong way around, and cost that outfit its AOC…..?

  20. fractious says:

    Mr Lemon, thank you. I love the stench of a good chilli-hot rant as it splats steaming onto the boardroom top table. Send Joyce back to the land of the bogs and the little people on a slow leaky boat. No, screw that. Put him on a Qantas flight, then make sure the pilots, the cabin crew, the maintenance crews, the baggage handlers, the booking-in staff, the catering crews and the people who clean the toilets know he’s on board.

    Sitting comfortably with your seat in the upright position Mr Joyce? Then let’s begin…

    • fractious says:

      Forgot. How in the universe this made it onto The Punch I don’t know, but whatever sacrifices you had to make to get it there were worth it. Most of the comment stream there is quite something – in fact the last time I saw something like it it was gushing down a sewage pipe. Minutes of amusement.

      • Skinny says:

        The comments on The Punch have left me thoroughly depressed. I like to believe that those kinds of views are just those of a vocal minority, but it’s not is it? They’re the majority and we’re all fucked.

        90% of tham are along the lines of good on Joyce for standing up to union thuggery, he deserved his pay increase, he had no other choice and of course, Geoff is a socialist prick who has no idea how business works.

        I had a laugh out loud moment about ‘the union gave me herpes’. I’m a little surprised I didn’t see a comment like that on The Punch. I couldn’t stand to read them all though…

        • geoff lemon says:

          Don’t let The Punch bother you. A lot of the folk there are professional commenters… not to suggest they’re actually getting paid, but there are a few dozen people who routinely comment on every single Punch article and espouse the same line. Anything that offends their particular view is communism. Just as the majority of comments here are likely to agree with me, because those readers are more likely to follow my site. There are still plenty of people reading The Punch and not commenting, and they’re the ones worth trying to reach.

  21. che says:

    ‘Our growth and our current position in the market is a direct result of the people who work with Qantas and the contribution they make every day. We are very conscious that building and developing a team of experienced and motivated people has been, and will continue to be, key to our success. We proudly value and acknowledge the dedication of our 35,000 plus employees, 90% of whom are based in Australia and the rest in over 30 countries around the world.’

    ‘Remuneration and Benefits
    Qantas is committed to providing meaningful jobs with competitive salaries and superior benefits…’

    ‘We encourage you to “Embrace the Spirit”, both Qantas’ spirit and your own.’
    from ‘Qantas Careers’

    http://careers.qantas.com.au/why-qantas/about-qantas.aspx

  22. Ian says:

    Nice post. Well written. So much has been said and refuted (including this well-said piece). There are so many perspectives and views to this one story, you can choose your own truth.

    Despite your good writing. I still think the unions are attention seeking wankers whose agenda is to damage the very thing they seek benefits from.

    To quote Captain Willard: “The bullshit piles up so fast you need wings to stay above it”

    • Danny says:

      I don’t know if I agree with the stance that unions want to crush the company they work for. If the company goes down, they lose their jobs. Who would advocate that? To a similar, but lesser degree, I also believe that big business only want to screw their workers so far: but not too far. If the workforce has no spare dollars, then they can’t buy the shit the companies are selling. Everyone is trying to screw everyone else, just not to death.

      • Ian says:

        You’re right, who would advocate that? It doesn;t make sense.
        I was going by this quote.

        “Take the language used in the Qantas dispute by Steve Purvinas of the aircraft engineers’ union, who promised to “bake them slowly”, to “sort out” the airline’s chief executive Alan Joyce, while urging travellers to look at airlines other than Qantas.”

        http://www.smh.com.au/national/state-of-the-unions–industrial-muscle-in-2011-20111102-1muxi.html

        It appears to be a clear intention to damage the brand, which is odd, because ultimately it affects their employers ability to employ a workforce.

        • Anfalicious says:

          The unions have to give several days notice of any work bans and then they have to be within strict guidelines. The company could just shut things down. That’s an example of the widening power imbalance between labour and capital in this country. The unions aren’t the thugs.

  23. Gavin says:

    Joyce should be tied to a chair and made to read that. If he doesn’t like it, or won’t open his eyes, then on with the Clockwork Orange style calipers to his eyelids & make it a loudly narrated graphic on a big screen for him to follow along to a few dozen times until it sinks in properly.

  24. Scott Hillard says:

    Ask the tough questions and you get the usual answer: …..

    Just a bunch of cyber blow-hards crying crocodile tears. Not one of them with a clue as to how successful businesses operate – particularly in a tight labour market. Companies that set out to screw their workers will be stuck with the drek while the good people leave – for their competitors. Those business will fail, and deservedly so. Mind you, businesses put over a barrel by dinosaur clueless union bully-boys don’t stand much of a chance either. Is anyone cancelling their Amazon account yet to “support Aussie jobs”? No? Didn’t think so.

    • Steph says:

      Union bully boys?

      What decade are you from?

      This isn’t even ABOUT “aussie jobs”. This is about a CEO taking action that was completely and utterly unnecessary that was designed to fuck up as many people’s plans as possible. Negotiations were not at “crisis point”, the government had not been asked to intervene (and cannot be expected to intervene in such matters off its own bat – the uproar that would have caused). Of the three unions involved only one had taken ‘extended’ industrial action over the course of a month and it hadn’t even caused as much disruption for Qantas as normal operations on Jetstar. Joyce was not over a barrel, he was not staring down the face of imminent industrial action – the unions had agreed to a three week break to negotiate only days before! Joyce did what he did to force arbitration instead of sitting down to negotiate – Joyce didn’t want to find a middle ground. Arbitration usually favours employers over employees.

    • Amanda Robertson says:

      What tight labour market Scott? This isn’t Greece, we had a skills shortage the last time I checked. Successful businesses have three main stakeholders – staff, shareholders and customers. Mr Joyce seems to believe he is only answerable to the shareholders. Since you think you are the expert on how to operate a successful business, you tell me what happens when you exclusively serve the interests of shareholders over your staff and your customers.

    • Pete says:

      Out of curiosity Scott, do you think it was acceptable behaviour for Alan Joyce to shut down the airline and hold everyone to ransom to ensure that he got what he wanted? If so, how would you feel about the unions causing the airline to shut down to get what they wanted?

    • RockstarPhilosopher says:

      QANTAS has national interest implications, it should never have been privatised in the first place. The tourism industry will love it in a few years when getting to Australia from the US or Europe will require two Asian stop-overs because there’s no hub airline linking them.

  25. David Lowery says:

    It is immensely fortifying to realise that I am not alone in my little bubble, but that others, such as yourself Mr Lemon, are in it too. The world is not entirely screwed so long as we have those willing to speak like you.

  26. Pingback: The Centre Cannot Hold >> Political: Qantas vs Joyce; Gruen Planet

  27. Pilots Wife says:

    The problems with bone-close cost-cutting in a business solely concerned with hurling sardine tins stuffed with hundreds of people through the air at massive speeds will be amply displayed when QANTAS loses a large plane full of passengers and crew. Note: WHEN, not if. And it will be soon. Don’t fly QANTAS – even if you don’t give a flying kangaroo about the industrial punch-up, avoid them because you want to live another few years…

  28. Rod says:

    The broad Irish accent telling us Aussies what’s best and the broad Scot accent doing the same thing. Last time I looked their homelands are fucked. Pair of fine cunts.

  29. RockstarPhilosopher says:

    I find the idea that a CEO can come into a company and for all intents and purposes strip the company bare and move it offshore, can be claiming for a pay increase. I’m sure the baggage handlers could increase productivity through using catapults to load bags, but it’s probably not going to be good for the business long term. Joyce is yet another example of the destructiveness of the corporate system; as long as one turns profits for the next year, with no look to the long term, then one deserves multi-million dollar pay packets.

    Qantas is going the same way as Telstra and Fosters; Australian icons destroyed by CEOs and a board with no vision and little capabilities being paid as if they are geniuses of unimaginable intellect and skill.

  30. Dr Oyvind says:

    Perhaps there should be a Joyce-swap. Barnaby, Alan. Alan, Barnaby. Aaaaand, action!

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