The Qantas lockout

Written By: - Date published: 3:22 pm, October 30th, 2011 - 127 comments
Categories: capitalism, Unions, wages, workers' rights - Tags:

There’s a lot going on with the Qantas lockout that isn’t being reported in our media. This guest post from a reader who’s an aviation industry expert gives the dispute some context.

I didn’t believe it yesterday when I was told yesterday that Qantas had grounded the airline and locked-out its pilots, licensed engineers and ground handlers who were taking low level industrial action in support of their claims in collective bargaining. Qantas CEO Alan Joyce is either a mad man or a man on a mission to break the transport unions in Australia.

I think he’s a bit of both and I think that this time he has spent all his capital on this one and he will be gone as all managers do after a big dispute. The dispute is all based about job security and now he is holding not just the workers at ransom he is holding the Australian tourism industry too.

The pilots have been battling against the constant off-shoring of their jobs. How does this happen? Easy, just bring in foreign pilots to fly Qantas aircraft. You don’t need to look far for an example: global shipping industry and the Rena running up on the Astrolabe Reef of Tauranga. All Qantas has to do is register aircraft, set up a company and employ pilots all in another country and you have a flag of convenience airline. Qantas started this model in New Zealand with Jet Connect and it has worked. Now they are looking at replicating it in Asia.

Licensed engineers are protecting their profession and the quality. Qantas has been slowly increasing the amount of off-shoring and outsourcing. Everyone is aware of the problems Qantas has been having with it engines and airframes lately. And it is no surprise that this is happening either. 2 years ago Qantas appointed Chris Nassenstein as their head of Engineering. Chris was the head of Air New Zealand Engineering in 2005 when Air New Zealand proposed to outsource its Engineering Operations to Asia.

Ground handling is the same story of a race to the bottom and threats of outsourcing the work to the lowest bidder in the market irrespective of the service levels or security background of the company offering the service.

Alan Joyce made his name as Jet Star’s CEO and was appointed the CEO of Qantas in 2008. He is anti-union and it seems is hell bent on turning Qantas into a low cost carrier. Since he took over Qantas her hasn’t been shy about their plans to off-shore and outsource Qantas jobs in order to become more profitable. The airline has been doing well and so has he. Last Friday the shareholder and board agreed to a pay packet worth over $5 million. This added fuel to the fire and caused a mum and dad shareholder walkout. The Australian population is becoming impatient with the head of its national carrier.

There are 3 different labour agreements covering these work areas and it has been boiling now for some years. It is a perfect storm and it looks likely that the Government will win its application for the dispute to be suspended whilst an arbitration is undertaken.

Update: as predicted the lockout has been put on hold by the Fair Work Court.

127 comments on “The Qantas lockout”

  1. Jenny 1

    The way to win this dispute is to go international rather than an us versus them dispute about outsourcing, which rapidly turns domestic workers against foreign ones, and from there further degenerates into nasty xenophobia and the sort of economic nationalism that fuels racist sentiments amongst working people.

    The main demand of the unions at this time as I understand it, is that the foreign aircrews and maintenance staff are paid at Aussie rates.

    This is the sort of intelligent way to fight this dispute. It turns the divide and rule struggle of domestic vs. foreign workers, into a common struggle against exploitation at home and abroad.

    I wish all the domestic and foreign employees of this airline all the best in this struggle.

    Solidarity forever.

    Kia kaha.

  2. So far the nz msm have reported precisely none of the issues Qantas staff unions have concerns about. Thanks for helping to fill in some of the yawning gaps.

    It reminds me of the Warner Brothers dispute coverage – totally one-sided.

    • Vicky32 2.1

      I had read about this in the Italian media long before I heard even a whisper in NZ Media… (I don’t watch TV on weekends so I don’t know if they covered it, radio certainly didn’t until noon today, Sunday).

      • the sprout 2.1.1

        oh they’ve ‘covered’ it here, just without any of the basic facts of the dispute like what both parties’ concerns are.

        • Ari 2.1.1.1

          Don’t be ridiculous, there’s only one side to industrial disputes. 😉

        • Jenny 2.1.1.2

          TV1 said that the lockout would be enforced until the unions signed a deal.

          Careful avoidance by TV1 news of the nature of the “deal” that Quantas want to enforce on their employees with the lockout and what their employees are objecting to.

          So far for TV1 this dispute is about something, something, we don’t want to talk about it.

    • infused 2.2

      It’s been going on for ages and it has been reported here.

  3. millsy 3

    Pity that drunk idiot Hawke and his sleazy looking boyfriend Keating flogged it off back in the 80’s..

  4. Colonial Viper 4

    Destroying worker wages and conditions for what?

    Increased return on shareholder investment and capital, of course.

    Labour fucked, capital friended.

  5. Jenny 5

    New Zealand airline employees particularly ground crew, could play a key role in winning this international dispute, by putting a black ban on all engineering work for Qantas outsourced to this country.

    Further to this, all New Zealand flight crews (whatever their company), should refuse to supply services or do extra shifts that strengthens the lockout, including refusing to fly any extra routes normally flown by the locked out Qantas air crews.

    I am sure that such an initiative would be wildly applauded by Qantas airline workers around the globe, who would then be honour bound to see that airline workers in New Zealand had their wages and conditions brought up to Australian levels.

    Airline workers you have nothing to lose and everything to gain by reaching out across the Tasman to aid your buddies.

  6. Jenny 6

    The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.

    Winston Churchill

    • McFlock 6.1

      F. D. Roosevelt, not Churchill.

      • Jenny 6.1.1

        oops sorry (wrong hero)

      • E Harmon 6.1.2

        I don’t want to detract from Churchill’s achievements as wartime leader, but as far as unions go he was a union basher of the highest order who sent armed soldiers out against British coal miners in the 1920’s. Lest we forget.

        • Jenny 6.1.2.1

          E Harmon this is true.
          Churchill was a right wing anti-union tory through and through.

          But it is Churchill’s courageous call to arms in the face an unprecedented threat to human civilisation at a time when other leaders weren’t even prepared to acknowledge the danger, that we need to emulate.

          If only we had a Churchill of the left in our parliament now.

          Someone to roundly denounce the do nothing, apologists, appeasers and deniers of climate change and peak oil.

          Someone unafraid to speak their mind openly and forthrightly, someone prepared to stand up, someone prepared to make the necessary call to arms to mobilise the whole population against the terrible present day threats to our civilisation.

          Someone prepared to set an example for the rest of the world.

          • Jenny 6.1.2.1.1

            The other admirable thing about Churchill apart from his courage and forthrightness was his un-sectarian approach to his Labour party critics in the face of a global crisis that threatened to overwhelm them all.

            Churchill’s relationship with Miners Union leader and MP Anurin Bevan who’s maiden speech in parliament had been a harangue against Churchill is a case in point.

          • Colonial Viper 6.1.2.1.2

            I concur with your sentiments, but somewhere between 80% and 90% of the electorate don’t want to know anything about that truth.

            For instance, anyone who agrees to let their child go to university to study ‘marketing’, ‘international finance’ or ‘aviation’ clearly does not get it.

            Anyone who takes on board a mortgage which will take 25 years to pay back does not get it.

            Its going to take many more years before any such leader you speak of will gain electoral acceptance.

            • Jenny 6.1.2.1.2.1

              What is different about that to the public perception of the threat of fascism in 1939.

              Remember that the German Nazis and Italian fascists were already bombing civilian centres in Spain in a full dress rehearsal for their invasion of Europe.

              Yet Western governments and leaders, and outside a limited few who knew the truth, most people were ignorant of the looming threat.

              Also remember that Churchill was a rank outsider. After the collapse of the Liberal Government Churchill left the Liberals and stood for parliament as an independent. Only very late in the piece when he already saw the threat, did he join the Conservative Party, entering as their lowest ranking back bencher.

              Yet it was his forthright courage in speaking out loudly and vociferously, condemning appeasers and apologists left and right, that couldn’t be ignored, against a backdrop of parliamentary timidity, media silence and general popular ignorance that saw him plucked straight from the back bench to the Premiership.

              The only two MPs that in my opinion approach that level of pugnacious bulldog spirit in our parliament are Trevor Mallard or Hone Harawira.

  7. Jenny 7

    Twenty-eight international flights and 36 domestic flights were in the air at the time of the announcement of the lockout. More than 7000 passengers affected. No advance warning had been given of this wild cat action by the company.

    The Lockout tactic by Quantas is to enforce lower wages and poorer conditions onto international employees of the Airline over the objections of their Australian workers.

    The msm has been deathly quiet and uncharacteristically uncomplaining in reporting the hardships foistered on the traveling public by this industrial action by the company to enforce their demands to pay slave wages to non-Australian employees.

    Just imagine the screams from the corporate media if the workforce had walked out grounding a total of 64 flights and stranding 7000 passengers without notice in wildcat industrial action like this.

    All Australian airline workers are asking for, is that foreign workers employed by Quantas have the same employment protections as Australian Quantas employees.

    This is an unselfish demand by the Australian employees of Quantas in the highest traditions of international trade union solidarity.

    They deserve our full support.

    The locked out Quantas employees deserve the support of all those who believe in fairness on both sides of the Tasman and around the world.

    New Zealand unions must join in international solidarity actions against Quantas. The NZCTU should make the call to all unionists to deny all services to this company until the lockout is lifted and beyond that until Quantas agrees to pay it’s workforce fairly regardless of nationality.

    To prevent a race to the bottom in the airline industry, the vicious Quantas lockout must be crushed. International support in this struggle will be the difference between defeat and victory for these workers.

  8. Jenny 8

    The Qantas management’s demand that they are trying to bludgeon their workforce into accepting, is racist.

    Why should workers be paid less due to their nationality?

    “All Qantas flights grounded indefinitely”

    Stuff.co.nz Headline

    Just imagine the headlines if Unions had announced an indefinite strike to enforce higher wages for Australian workers over foreigners.

    I imagine that the headlines would read something like this

    “Racist”, “Greedy”, “Wreckers”, “Holding the traveling public and the country to ransom”

    Yet this is what Qantas is demanding of the their workforce. The lockout is about bludgeoning Qantas’ workers into accepting discriminatory wages and conditions.

  9. randal 9

    also they make us use our overseas funds to pay for their aircraft and then they sell them. norty norty.

  10. I have a very personal stake in this conflict as one of my best 911 truther activist friends is one of those licensed engineers who has a lot of people depending on his pay check. I hope they can win this fight because if they don’t it’s over for unions in Oz and that is when they will follow us in the race to the bottom

  11. big bruv 11

    Any chance you might post both sides of this argument?

    Nah..thought not.

    [OK you win; we won’t post both sides of this argument….RL]

    • big bruv 11.1

      Afraid of a fair discussion are you?

      Sort of thing I expect from a scum unionist. The one good thing to come of thise dispute will be the death of the unions in Oz, just as they have been killed off here and in the UK. It cannot come quick enough.

    • Jenny 11.2

      So bruv you obviously support paying people different rates of pay based on their nationality.

      Do you support racist employment policy generally, or just in this case?

      • big bruv 11.2.1

        Jenny

        There is not much point getting into a debate about this as comrade Red Logix has decided that only one side of the story will be told.

        However, if you get in quick before he censors my comment I can tell you this.

        Qantas needs to survive, if they can get it done cheaper elsewhere then good for them. When it comes to engineering they need to look elsewhere anyway given the crap record they have had of late.
        If union scum have priced Aussie workers out of a job then perhaps it is the union scum who should be coping the abuse.

        Do I care about those in strike?…nope, not at all, they can starve for all I care.

        [Red Logix has decided that only one side of the story will be told. That was your claim. I only implemented what you asked for. Now you whine about it.

        When you openly, gloatingly hope that the locked out Qantas staff starve, lose their homes and cars, etc…then you have stepped over the line. I don’t care how you try to justify it. Take careful note. It is up to you to control yourself here, this is not a forum for you to say whatever you like. Plenty of right wingers comment here and have done so for years, but when you behave obnoxiously you will get moderated. You are gnat’s nut away from a long, if not permanent ban…RL]

        • KJT 11.2.1.1

          Same real intelligent thinking that caused the Rena, Pike river and New Zealand’s rapid descent to the third world.

          • big bruv 11.2.1.1.1

            Utter rubbish.

            Is there nothing that you union low life will not do to push your evil cause?

            Labour are to blame for our rapid charge toward the third world, you guys are the ones who encouraged a generation to look to the tax payer for a hand out and now you have the cheek to blame the Nat’s.

            Nah, this one is all on you guys.

            BTW, where was the staunch support of the unions when Clark was in power?

        • Ianupnorth 11.2.1.2

          BB – you clearly do not have a single brain cell – you either cut costs, or, you put up prices, or, you stop flying unprofitable routes.

          Why don’t you go back to cottaging big boy; it was far more pleasant here before you returned. Is your boyfriend Slater not missing you? 

        • big bruv 11.2.1.3

          RL

          Do what ever you bloody well like, ban me if you want I do not give a toss. You always censor anybody who dares disagree with you anyway. Just stop pretending you guys are anything other than partisan hacks who cheer on command.

          I had to laugh at your comment “this is not a place to say what you like”

          So there you go, the real reason I came here was just to wind you lot up anyway, it is so easy given the pathetic nature of your party and your failed ideology.

          Enjoy your long, long time on the opposition benches chaps.

          [ You always censor anybody who dares disagree with you anyway. OK you asked for it. I disagree with you, so therefore you are permanently banned. Happy now? …RL]

          [lprent: Added to the spam file at his own request. Daring a moderator to ban you is Darwin Award level of stupidity. Unfortunately it does not remove him from the genepool.

          What is also kind of ironic is that unlike BB (who seems to have an ability to view everyone left of him as some kind of communist – ie everyone from right of centre to the anarchists), I don’t think that RL usually supports Labour. I’m going to be fascinated to find out in a few weeks who he will support if he is willing to say. ]

          • Colonial Viper 11.2.1.3.1

            🙂 bye bye

          • KJT 11.2.1.3.2

            Yeah. Bugger off. You don’t add anything sensible to the discussion.

          • felix 11.2.1.3.3

            “So there you go, the real reason I came here was just to wind you lot up anyway”

            How sad that you’ve utterly failed to achieve the sole aim of all that blather.

          • BLiP 11.2.1.3.4

            I’m not surprised big bruv disappeared up his own arse.

          • infused 11.2.1.3.5

            Yet he speaks some truth. It was the union that shut down South Pacific Tyres in Upper Hutt. Pushing for wage increases when they were already paid a very good wage. SPT said if you keep pushing this the parent company was going to shut them down. Union didn’t care. The members even wanted them to stop. The fuckstick that was at the helm however had other plans. Low and behold they pulled the plug. 600 jobs gone.

            Look at the state Upper Hutt is in now…

            You can’t spin this shit, I was there.

        • Deadly_NZ 11.2.1.4

          What a fuckwit!

  12. Jenny 12

    What is the dispute about?

    What the main Stream Media are telling us.

    “Qantas need flexibility”

    “Unions want to make make management decisions particularly on the overseas business area, Qantas can’t allow that”

    What is the dispute about,

    1/ Qanta desires to exploit cheap labour in Qantas’ foreign operations.

  13. Ianupnorth 13

    Big Bruv, you are a troll!

    The Jetstar model was primarily brought in to smash the workers; they even employ their pilots on very different contracts; indeed Air NZ are just as bad, as they have far lower conditions for their cabin crew who work out of Hong Kong and mainland China.

    The aviation industry is cut throat – which major carriers are making a profit (since you seem to be in the know?)

    Are BA making a fortune? Any of the US carriers out of bankruptcy yet? Alitalia? Only Emirates and Singapore are making a profit.

    You may have missed Qantas has spent heavily replacing an ancient fleet in the past five years; you may have also missed they are being heavily squeezed on Trans Tasman route, long haul to the USA, as well as Asia – they no longer have a practical monopoly. They lagged behind other carriers on service and price. That’s where they messed up. If they lose the loyalty of their staff they will be toast mate. 

    • Colonial Viper 13.1

      They lagged behind other carriers on service and price. That’s where they messed up. If they lose the loyalty of their staff they will be toast mate.

      The current CEO wants to squeeze costs out of workers, improve the bottom line for the short term, get his contracted bonuses, and then bail just before the airline goes into a death spiral as its standards and workers fall apart.

      Seen it once, seen it a hundred times.

      • KJT 13.1.1

        SOP procedure for million dollar parasitic managers.

      • Deadly_NZ 13.1.2

        Not bad for another fuckwit named Joyce but this one has only just got a huge pay rise to an obscene 5 million Aussie, so to say thanks for the payrise (performance based?) on the backs of the workers he’s screwing over.

  14. big bruv 14

    Ian

    If that us the sole reason for Jetstar then all power to that airline. Anything that smashes the power of the unions is a great thing.

    Jenny

    If you do want to debate then please don’t start with a blatant lie. Qantas are not wanting to pay people of different races a lesser wage. Qantas are offering a wage that is consistent with demand in the country they are employing the new (non union) staff.

    • Colonial Viper 14.1

      Qantas are offering a wage that is consistent with demand in the country they are employing the new (non union) staff.

      Classic case of race to the bottom wage arbitrage.

      Hire Indians, Indonesians and Chinese to work for sweet FA and layoff expensive Australian crews.

      Pocket the difference for capitalist shareholders and boards of directors.

    • KJT 14.2

      Contradicting yourself again. Paying non union staff from another country a lower rate is racism and shear greed. Just as Jenny said.

      But you wouldn’t know the truth if it bit you in the bum.

      All the twits who appear here mindlessly repeating counterfactual bullshit, like you, lower the tone of discussion to the sewer. That is why we like Kiwibog. It gives you little turds a place to play.

      Fuck off.

    • Jenny 14.3

      bruv I said that the Qantas want to pay different wage rates due to different nationality, not race. When employers try and exploit national differences to increase their bottom line it can fuel racist sympathies, that’s true, and I have mentioned this potentiality.

      But it is to the credit of the Australian Airline Unions that they haven’t fallen into this divide and rule trap.

      But you, who do support different pay rates based on nationality, must ask yourself the question, why do I support lesser pay rates for Indonesians or Chinese workers over Australians?

      However bruv, going on your hate filled spittle inflected comments against unionists I don’t expect any such soul searching introspection from you.

    • smokeskreen 14.4

      BB

      Be careful, History has a terrible habit of repeating itself. Revolutions are caused by such vile opinions and attitudes, and you are making yourself a candidate for a future Gulag somewhere, where you will be truly “re educated”

      Getting back to Qantas, why are their aircraft having so many problems lately? I tell you why, because they are now maintained by “The Lucky Rabbit Wooden Kite Company” somewhere in Asia, in place of the highly
      qualified engineers in Australia, who are subject to strict examinations and are checked out on a regular basis. I would hate to see it but the day is fast approaching when one of these aircraft is going to fall out of the sky and the enquiry will find that it was due to bad or lack of maintenance carried out in one of these outsourced facilities.

      [lprent: Implied or direct, threats are not welcome. Read the policy before I wind up having to notice you more than you’d like. ]

  15. Ianupnorth 15

    BB, can’t wait for your job to be outsourced to India!

  16. Jenny 16

    What is the Qantas lockout about?

    In August, Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce announced a major restructuring of Qantas that included establishing two new subsidiary carriers in Asia using cheap labour, at the same time Joyce announced one thousand redundancies of union members.

    All the unions asked for, was that the conditions for the employees of new Qantas subsidiary businesses overseas be the same as those enjoyed by the laid off Australian workers, a demand that Joyce claims was extreme and would kill the airline.

    The media have repeated the Qantas lie that the lockout was in response to union industrial action.

    In fact the union has withdrawn all industrial action.

    But this is not enough for Joyce, in his determination to push through discriminatory and lesser employment conditions on Quantas’ non-Australian workforce, Joyce told the media

    “We need to have an agreement before we put the airline back in the air.”

    “We are locking out, until the unions withdraw their extreme claim and reach agreement with us,” Mr Joyce told a news conference at the airport in Sydney.

    I imagine if unionists made such bullying statements to enforce discriminatory working conditions based on nationality, and then backed this threat up with industrial action, that they wouldn’t be facing such a softly softly approach from the government, the courts and the media.

    The Australian government the courts and the media would be united in telling the unions to lift their industrial action immediately and withdraw their claim.

  17. prism 17

    Qantas needs to survive, if they can get it done cheaper elsewhere then good for them. When it comes to engineering they need to look elsewhere anyway given the crap record they have had of late.

    An assertion about the subject after the traditional ranting about unions. Isn’t it a fact that mishaps have occurred to Qantas planes BECAUSE they are outsourcing their engineering abandoning the quality control in favour of lower cost and higher profits?

  18. Anon 18

    “Qantas employees generally already have higher pay and better conditions than equivalent positions at other domestic carriers (Virgin, Jetstar, Tiger) – and FAR more than carriers in almost any foreign country that you could name. Also, Alan Joyce, though just given a $1.5M raise, voluntarily took a $7M/year pay cut previously. So he’s just regaining some of what he previously lost (not that that justifies anything, just pointing it out).

    AJ is a bit of a dick, but Qantas really is between a rock and a hard place. Or more accurately, Qantas International (the domestic arm is doing fine). QF international is losing money hand over fist through no real fault of their own. The problems are:

    1. Geography: Australia is a terminus when it comes to air travel. You don’t travel ‘through’ Australia to get to anywhere else. So you don’t have the advantages of being based in a hub, like places in the Middle East or Asia, which can attract substantial traffic from within their catchment area and ALSO a lot of transit traffic (people just passing through in transit to other locations). Australia is the ‘end of the road’ so to speak, which makes their potential market much smaller.

    2. Australia has an open skies policy these days, which has allowed the likes of Singapore Airlines, Qatar, Emirates, Malaysian Airlines, Cathay Pacific, Etihad to operate Australian services. These are airlines that already have the inherent advantages of being based in hub locations (thus are not as reliant on origin-and-departure traffic as Qantas is). They are also airlines that, due to being based in locations with much lower wages than Australia, have costs in the order of HALF what Qantas has, to operate the same flights. Qantas tickets are therefore more expensive. And as a result, noone buys them – Qantas now has only 20% market share for international flights to/from Australia (and falling).

    So, QF international is losing money. Their successful domestic arm has been subsidising it, but that can only continue for so long. So what’s the solution? They can either start basing at least some of their core maintenance and piloting operations from a hub somewhere in Asia (Singapore, HK etc.) … or go out of business. This is what Alan Joyce announced earlier this year as a plan to save QF International – moving some operations offshore and creating a new premium airline in Asia. The unions oppose it – they obviously don’t want jobs to be lost within Australia, nor do they want their members to miss out on pay or entitlements. Fair enough, from their perspective.

    But what would you have Qantas do? They have no choice – if QF International is to survive at all, they MUST significantly reduce their cost base. That would be impossible to do while keeping all existing jobs in Australia. And even more impossible to do if the unions force them to pay even more. They are competing against foreign carriers whose costs are half as much, remember. What a sad thing it would be if Qantas – the second oldest continuously operating international airline in the world – was forced to close its doors.

    There really are two sides to this story – the vilification in the media of Qantas as being greedy, un-Australian etc etc. is to some extent unjustified, as they are really running out of options, and noone can force them to keep operating their international arm at a loss.”

    This wasn’t wrir
    http://tech.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=2499808&cid=37879378

    PS: Posting with anon because i don’t care to post with my main ID, i didn’t write it, and i don’t have time to justify or even look into it.
    Just posting because i saw this and i saw that and wanted to throw this in.

    • prism 18.1

      Gee that’s sad about Qantas having international competition at home. Why couldn’t NZ have been given this opportunity? Australia might have shot itself in the foot letting all these other airlines passing through go within the country, but first they shot us.

      And when we took on Ansett to achieve that end, just as bad conditions happened worldwide to the flying business, and we went bust, the Ozzies hated us for renegging on their extensive pension plans which had become an albatross to the company. Now Qantas is getting the flak. We know just how it feels.

    • Jenny 18.2

      Well well, how about that, free trade is all about a race to the bottom. Who would’a guessed that.

      2. Australia has an open skies policy these days, which has allowed the likes of Singapore Airlines, Qatar, Emirates, Malaysian Airlines, Cathay Pacific, Etihad to operate Australian services……

      …….They are also airlines that, due to being based in locations with much lower wages than Australia, have costs in the order of HALF what Qantas has, to operate the same flights. Qantas tickets are therefore more expensive. And as a result, noone buys them – Qantas now has only 20% market share for international flights to/from Australia (and falling).

      Anon

      Well Anon the answer seems obvious to me: Ban all cut price carriers from Aussie air space.

      I can just imagine the screams of outrage at such a suggestion from the likes of over paid parasites like Qantas boss Alan Joyce and his mates who like things just the way they are.

      Setting it up so the workers of different countries are at each others throats to work for the lowest possible wage, and then complain that you are losing business unless your own workforce drops down to the lowest common denominator.

    • Ianupnorth 18.3

      Thank you; you add some very valid points that several of the others didn’t mention (such as BB)

  19. *_* 19

    Here is an alternative explanation to explain Qantas’ management behavious that the sterotypical socialist narrative of capital wanting to crush workers.

    http://seekingalpha.com/article/245778-why-does-the-airline-industry-see-so-many-bankruptcies

    In any case as events over the medium to long term play out Qantas will go the same way as GM and Ford – unable to remain profitable in the face of foreign competition which is subsidised or state-owned – and those employed by Qantas will be fired.

    • KJT 19.1

      Starting to see a pattern here are we?

      All the countries that prospered through the GFC support, protect or subsidise their local industry in some way.
      Even Australia until recently.

      Tell you something!

      • *_* 19.1.1

        With what money?

        Maybe we can go cap in hand to the Chinese and ask for a loan like Europe is?

        Perhapes we could mine the Coromandal, I’m sure the people of NZ would think it’s awesome in order to ‘prosper’?

        Australia has recently protected its banana industry after the ravages of the Queensland floods wiped out 90% of the crop this year by banning foreign imports. Yay? Banana went up to about $16 kg in Coles but I’ve seen them on sale recently for $8 kg so things are improving. Is this the kind of protection you mean? I’m sure the Australian consumer was delighted in being unable to afford a staple in their childrens lunches to protect banana growers.

        • KJT 19.1.1.1

          Australians consumers are pleased that with the fact that with strong Unions and protection they can afford $16 bananas.
          Especially as most of their other purchases, such as food staples and building supplies, are much cheaper than in NZ.

          Unlike us who have much greater rises in our food bills, 25% this year, $35 dollar leg of lamb anyone, while our wages are heading to third world levels.

          With what money?

          The money we do not have to spend on imports because we produce it locally for a start.

          The 14 billion a year saved by re-nationalizing, without compensation, all the companies that offshore interests have already made many times the sale price on.

          The money saved by the government spending money into the economy instead of paying Australian banks to do it. Another reason why the Aussies are doing better than us.

          The extra money retained when overseas corporates, financial gamblers and Hawaiian holidayers are made to pay their fair share of tax.

          The money that stays in the country, when corporates are made to pay fair wages.

          The money that is made from startups when local people have enough spare capital to have a go.

          The savings in imported oil by State power companies going to 100% renewable generation.

          The money saved by, like Argentina, telling the banks to wear the costs of their forcing up house and asset prices so they can loan more money.

          • Colonial Viper 19.1.1.1.1

            “With what money?”

            Kiwi workers send approx $2B in corporate banking profits to Australian shareholders every year. You pay your mortgage or an “other bank ATM” fee and chances are you are benefitting our Oz cousins. Especially from NZ banks we USED TO own. Like BNZ, Postbank, Trust Bank, etc.

            The Aussies say “thank you for going to work for us every day, Kiwi chumps”.

            Now lets sell them Genesis and Mighty River Power while we are at it, and prove how stupid we really all are over on this side.

          • *_* 19.1.1.1.2

            That’s funny

            A NZer claiming to know what Australian consumer feel.

            Economic nationalism is stong in Australia, a lot stronger than NZ. But since they are one of our largest trading partners then guess who’s going to get fucked when supermarkets start limiting their lines to Oz made only. This has already started here.

            I noticed that milk in Australia is a lot cheaper than NZ. Seems to me that NZer have no compunction in screwing over other NZers when it comes to profits.

            Your other recomendation verge on insanity. I hope the state compulsorily requisitions your house without compensation to build a light rail track through and then when you complain you are branded an enemy of the people and sent to a work camp for reducation.

            Other than that I do note that your points fall far short of practical example on how they would be achieved. Seriously – have you ever though about the cost of renewable v non-renewable resources and their impact on the cost of living? Do you know why the Chinese are using coal instead of renewables when they lead the world in its production? Grandiose rhetorical comments don’t cut it in the real world but I’m sure you’ll have your retort.

            • Colonial Viper 19.1.1.1.2.1

              Wowsers. You are full of it. The Chinese are massively investing in renewable energy. Just look at the Three Gorges hydro scheme.

              And yes there was some compulsory acquisition of land, so what. Every country does it, whether it is for a mine, a hydro dam or a motorway.

              But since they are one of our largest trading partners then guess who’s going to get fucked when supermarkets start limiting their lines to Oz made only.

              You must have noticed how 80% of the SKUs in our supermarkets are already Australian.

              How ignorant are you?

              • *_*

                http://www.internationalrivers.org/china/three-gorges-dam

                So this is part of what you call democratic socialism? I suppose you’d put it down to collatoral damage. The left has always been like that though – lifting collective rights over the individual rights. All for the greater good.

                “You must have noticed how 80% of the SKUs in our supermarkets are already Australian.

                How ignorant are you?”

                Maybe you should re-read the statement. I was making an observation regarding economic nationalism not on the ownership of supermarkets. If we wish to maintain our standard of living we need the world far more than it needs us.

                You lefties are very irritable but I’d be the same if my party was polloing sub 30%. Commiserations (but not really)

                • KJT

                  Not surprising we are irritable. When we see National destroying our country and economy to give more money to themselves.

                  A country should not be Governed to suit the greedy self interests, or nutty religious beliefs, ( Freidmanism) of 61 people.

                  See how much freedom, and rights, someone on $27000 a year has in NZ.
                  “The law, in its majesty treats everyone equally. Both the rich and the poor are forbidden to sleep under a bridge”.

                • KJT

                  The RIGHT has always been like that though – lifting collective rights over the individual rights. All for the greater good.

                  Fixed it for you.

                  Of course in your alternative universe, BP, Exxon, Enron, QANTAS, Federated Farmers, Fonterra, Mcdonalds, Halliburton are not collectives.
                  And are not trampling on peoples individual rights. Especially the one to make a decent living from their work.

              • jbc

                And yes there was some compulsory acquisition of land, so what. Every country does it, whether it is for a mine, a hydro dam or a motorway.

                I think you missed that that was in response to one of the battiest ideas in KJT’s post:

                “re-nationalizing, without compensation, all the companies that offshore interests have already made many times the sale price on”

                So the NZ Government tells the National Australia Bank “sorry, BNZ is ours and we are taking it back. sorry, no compensation. we make the rules. suck it up.”

                NZ would have to make everything itself from that point on because international trade would become very difficult. No more imports or exports.

                Would probably also need to build up the armed forces.

                • lprent

                  Yep. There is reason why unilateral nationalization is a bad idea. The question is how to make it a bad idea when unilateral privatization is done without a realistic mandate is performed – Natioanls policy for post 2011. Increase the tax on sale of capital profits perhaps? Like a capital gains tax without a grandfather clause on shares…..

                  • jbc

                    Maybe. It does not seem right that the government can sell something that is not theirs to begin with. These entities belonged to the people of NZ; the government should just be the caretaker.

                    Edit: tense – belonged to the people. Not any more unfortunately.

                    • lprent

                      The parliament is effectively sovereign in NZ. The only way that they can be bound requires a 75% majority and is so damn narrow that it is largely impossible to bind future.

                      So the only realistic way that they can bind themselves is with things that get too complicated to undo. A CGT on shares is pretty good like that because privatization gets a lot less interesting for investors as their flick-on profit drops. But the government can’t drop the tax because then they lose the revenue and have to raise income tax or GST.

                      Understand that I support asset sales of the right types. The Government Printing Office or State Insurance being good examples. They were set up specifically to raise the level of the local industry – and they did with ex-employees and competition. But once they did that and had hordes of local competitors they’d done their job and should have been sold.

                      But sales of natural monopolies and infrastructural (ie other industries depend on them) assets is quite simply stupid. By the time that you have regulated them to the point that they still perform their function (ie why they were built in the first place), they are state assets in all but name (eventually telecom). Or if you don’t then they either chew grossly excessive profits costing the entire economy a few extra arms and legs (the entire electricity industry), or they are asset stripped to almost uselessness (NZ Rail and Air NZ).

                      There are too many industries that depend on these to leave in the hands of dividend grasping investors (why don’t we have a usable second gas pipeline? Why is AirNZ the only airfreight airline now that was effectively here a decade ago?)

                      But the problem at present is that the profit from ‘found’ state sale assets is too high because they aren’t taxed the same as other forms of profit (you just reinvest your profits until you move offshore).It is just a convenient way for right wing governments to reward their donors.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      The Government Printing Office or State Insurance being good examples. They were set up specifically to raise the level of the local industry – and they did with ex-employees and competition. But once they did that and had hordes of local competitors they’d done their job and should have been sold.

                      Except that in a real serious disaster, we found that a publicly owned and muscular State Insurance would have been very useful leverage, when dealing with some of the under-insured, reluctant players we have found in the insurance and re-insurance market place.

                      Neither basic banking nor basic insurance services should be run in a for-profit manner IMO, they should be viewed as basic infrastructure utility and run by the Government for the benefit of the people and economy in general.

                    • lprent []

                      The question then is the deregulation question – just like why my apartment had a nasty and expensive (eventually for the council) leak problem.

                      The problem is that if you keep stripping ‘backoffice’ functionality away like National tries to (more often hitting front office as they did throughout the 90’s) to pay for tax cuts, then you don’t have enough people to enforce the existing regulations. So to disguise that, a incompetent government will ‘deregulate’.

                      That is what happened to my apartment, and to Christchurch’s insurance cover.

                      Profit isn’t the problem. Having and monitoring effective regulation on infrastructural services is.

                      It would not have made much difference if it was the old State Insurance (which I worked at one summer) or a private firm. They both obeyed essentially the same private sector rules and state regulation in 1976

                      The only difference between the council and a private building inspector was that one was still liable whilst the other had folded into bankruptcy with inadequate insurance. A clear regulation making the council (the licencing authority) liable for the private insurance would have largely prevented the problem. Instead the ambiguity made lawyers rich.

                • Draco T Bastard

                  NZ would have to make everything itself from that point on because international trade would become very difficult. No more imports or exports.

                  Sounds good to me. Doing so would develop our society rather than having it stuck in a rut milking cows and destroying the environment.

                  • jbc

                    You’re smarter than that. Think it through. An isolationist “not made here” approach is not likely to turn out well for NZ.

                    Sure there is the subsistence low-tech beach-bum appeal that comes with simple living. That’s always in the back of my mind too.

                    Realistically though, the type of work that many people do in NZ could not be sustained with a purely local economy. If you closed the borders tomorrow then where would the next computer in NZ come from? How many in NZ know how to build a silicon wafer fabrication plant? They don’t come cheap, and the tooling that is needed to build a plant is not made in NZ. The number and complexity of dependent technologies is huge.

                    Problems similar to that faced by Qantas are going to keep coming up as long as there are economic imbalances between countries. I think it is inevitable that these things will escalate as the world gets better connected and more people become educated to a level where they can participate with those in developed countries.

                    On the face of it this appears quite threatening and will surely cause a lot of pain but you can also consider the side of the lower income countries as well. The differences are huge today but will narrow over time.

                    The bigger issue in my mind is the ethical treatment of the foreign workers if they are from countries without the laws that protect Qantas Australian staff.

                    No exploitation please.

                • KJT

                  Read. And learn.

                  http://kjt-kt.blogspot.com/2011/06/kia-ora-what-happens-if-decide-neo.html
                  “What happens if a country decides the Neo-Liberal dogma is a load of crap and tells the banks to get fucked”.

                  The one thing you can rely on with the corporates, is they will not let principles get in the way of making money.

                  And it was a wish list.

                  We do not actually have to Nationalise banking. All we have to do is capitalise Kiwibank to the extent that overseas banks become uncompetitive. Or follow the example of that communist State,
                  North Dakota.https://publicbanking.wordpress.com/

                  Who knows. Some local entrepreneurs may even fill the gaps creating new businesses to replace the multinationals. Terrible!

                  But an environmentally sustainable society is not possible without a sustainable economic system.

                  If you want real nuttiness. Try the idea that infinitely compounding interest can continue in a world with finite resources. The idea that is the basis of modern finance.

            • prism 19.1.1.1.2.2

              Oh come on Two-eyes. Milk is cheaper in Australia. Is that in all the supermarkets and dairies? In some supermarkets they are conducting a price war using milk as a loss leader. But it is not the supermarket that is taking the cut, apparently they have advised suppliers that they will bear this cost despite contracts previously followed. The supermarkets are pretty ugly in their strength – real body-building muscle bulging hulk and bulk. And they are prepared to run dairy farmers into the ground. And they have the mass market, till we shop elsewhere.

        • Draco T Bastard 19.1.1.2

          With what money?

          Anyone asking this question has NFI as to what an economy is.

    • Jenny 19.2

      *_* or whatever your name is, I don’t know what you think the stereotypical socialist narrative is, but I thought the narrative in the link you provided was almost marxian in it’s analysis of airline collapses. As Marx determined, it is not a matter of greedy capitalists wanting to crush workers, it’s the competitive nature of capitalism itself. But it does often embody the selfish sentiments of personal greed and ruthlessness.

      It is the reckless competition of all against all, that compels workers to organise in combinations across whole industries to resist the competitive drive between competing individual businesses. Workers combine to set a bottom line of wages and conditions that the businesses and employers they work for, each seeking a advantage against their competitors can’t go below. This is not a matter of choice either, it is a matter of survival, but it often embodies the noble sentiments of solidarity and mutual assistance.

      In the modern world and in particular struggles like this, to avoid being crushed workers have not just to reach out to each other nationally, but internationally in setting the bottom line in which competing businesses mustn’t go below, without a fight!

  20. RedLogix 20

    But what would you have Qantas do? They have no choice – if QF International is to survive at all, they MUST significantly reduce their cost base.

    I assume you have a job? If you do then it is almost certain that there is someone, somewhere else in the world willing and able to do it cheaper. Much cheaper. Tommorrow.

    Why then does YOUR employer continue to keep YOU on the payroll? Why should they?

    • KJT 20.1

      Why keep that employer on the payroll?

      Somewhere in the world there will be someone who is willing to supply the capital and take a smaller cut.

      Why keep managers and directors, on the payroll, who are so incompetent that the only way they can compete is with wage cuts for their staff.

      • Colonial Viper 20.1.1

        Bottom line is we don’t need capitalist owners any more. Workers should own the businesses that they work in. They should democratically choose their management, policies and pay levels for themselves, on a regular basis. Capital should be provided by the state at very low rates, and every new employee who joins shall also be a shareholder.

        Senior management has the same ownership share as every other worker, and is regularly voted in/out (say every 2-3 years), as any capitalist Board of Directors would do to a CEO.

        This is democratic socialism people.

        • Afewknowthetruth 20.1.1.1

          CV

          Bottom line is we don’t need airlines. In fact we did very nicely without them for 199,920 of the past 200,000 years.

          Gaia will be ‘extremely pleased’ when they are all permanently grounded -which will happen some time in the next decade, as Peak Oil erodes discretional spending down to nothing for the majority of humans everywhere.

          If the elites manage to establish stable fascist states they may contnue to travel by plane for a while longer than the serfs they are planning to make of the general populace if most nations.

          • Jenny 20.1.1.1.1

            Afew, the outcome you lay out is all very likely.

            I have heard of trade union action by coal miners or airline workers or motorway builders, cynically described as trying to organise a pay rise for the crew of the Titanic after it had hit the iceberg.

            But there are reasons why those of us who believe in the collapse analysis support the struggle of the trade unionists for a fairer deal.

            First of course if we are being honest, habit, it is good to have a win.

            If you have ever been in a union you will know that it can be a very empowering experience.
            For once in your working life you are not just a cog in the machine, to be ordered about. Working collectively with your colleagues you can actually make changes for the better. All decisions are made democratically and all voices are given a hearing.

            But deeper than this, unions on a global scale are the biggest voluntary democratically organised movement on earth. More people are in unions than in armies.

            That means that unions can be very powerful movers for social change. And have been.

            What I believe will happen and have posited on this site before, is that there will likely remain some (low) level of technological civilisation even after the resource and climate crisis hit.

            As you allude too, the most likely result will be the accumulation and control and hoarding of these very limited resources by fascist style elites backed up with repressive force, supervising a cruel and brutal die off of a large part of the human and natural world, on a scale unmatched by any Hitler or Stalin.

            The other (though probably much less likely alternative) is that the necessary winding down of industrial society will be done in a democratic and fair manner as possible for the welfare of all.

            Whenever a strike breaks out in the coal industry I encourage all my friends in the green movement to go down to the picket lines to support the miners.

            Why?

            Because the enemy is the same – rapacious and profit motivated companies driven by the need to compete with each other to maximise exploitation of both the natural environment as well as the human one even if the result is complete climate collapse. They need to be checked by some organised force or other.

            Unlikely as it may seem ecologists and coal miners can be allies.

            In the coal industry in this country the last few strikes have been reactive strikes against attacks increasing the rate of exploitation of the workforce

            Cutting corners on safety, getting fewer miners to work longer hours while increasing out put, increasing the use of casuals and non-union subcontractors.

            On the picket line everyone gets a hearing, unusually in our top down society, democracy is the rule not the exception. Probably approaching this experience would be to witness the Occupy Movement.

            Environmentalists while supporting striking miners for lesser hours and better conditions, will have the chance while standing shoulder to shoulder with the miners on their picket line to explain to these organised workers why their industry will need to be wound down. And that one of the demands that they should be putting on their employers should be training for them and their communities to prepare for a sustainable economy.

            Environmentalists and the few who know the truth cannot do it on their own, they need allies and powerful ones, at that.

            Support the Qantas workers!

            • KJT 20.1.1.1.1.1

              Very well put.

              I understand this perfectly. The offshore oil industry are willing to pay me at least three times more than I can earn anywhere else. Though I may have stopped any opportunities in that direction with some recent postings.

        • KJT 20.1.1.2

          Why does money capital have to have a cost?

          The enterprise* fails or succeeds, money is not removed. Unlike offshoring profits.

          *I was going to say company in its original meaning of a group of people setting out on a common enterprise, but these days it is too tied up with the idea of an incorporation.

  21. randal 21

    the guts of the matter is a whole gang of aussie rob fyfes tried to take on the government but are about to get a kick in the guts from the government and the people of Australia who must be sick of this crummy way of doing business.

  22. randal 22

    btw its good to see the end of the puerile pipsqueak big barf. he should go to aussie and get a job with QANTAS.

  23. One of the Masses 23

    Some questions.
    1) So what are the Qantas rates of pay compared to other airlines – for example AirNZ, Lufthansa, British Airways?
    2) Are they overpaid (or not)?
    Facts are facts, & spin (from every side of every argument) is just spin – What are the facts?
    3) If they are overpaid – do the Qantas International workers prefer to keep their jobs until the company bankrupts itself, or protect their long term jobs by ensuring that the airline survives?

    • Colonial Viper 23.1

      3) If they are overpaid – do the Qantas International workers prefer to keep their jobs until the company bankrupts itself, or protect their long term jobs by ensuring that the airline survives?

      You’re saying that the airline is headed for bankruptcy under the current CEO? And that great performance is why he has just got a massive $2M pay increase?

      You’re nuts.

      This is out and out corporate thievery. Take money away from the workers to give to the senior executives and major shareholders.

      • One of the Masses 23.1.1

        So have you got any facts to add to this discussion?

      • One of the Masses 23.1.2

        Viper – Just a question.
        Have you ever borrowed money to set up a business? i.e. Put your own assets at risk.

        • mickysavage 23.1.2.1

          I have OOTM.  I also believe that this is out and out corporate thievery and well as being incredibly stupid.

           Does my view count for more?

        • KJT 23.1.2.2

          Yep. For 15 years.

          Got out when it became obvious that National was heading us for another Ruthanasia.
          Impoverishing my customers.

          Have You?

          Be honest now.
          Was your handle Big Bruv?
          A very appropriate one given the resemblance of our current system to Orwells book.
          Or is it just that the groupthink from RWNJ clones comes from the same instruction set.

          • KJT 23.1.2.2.1

            As CV said. Do you think my opinion is worth more now?

            I prefer to back my opinions up with examples from reality. Facts not opinions.

            Unlike RWNJ I do not assume people are automatically stupid. And can be swayed by mindless slogans. Wherever they come from.

          • One of the Masses 23.1.2.2.2

            KJT – I have no idea who Big Bruv is, & yes I own a business (with 6 employees). Or rather should I say I borrowed against the equity in my house to fund a business at which I am the first to arrive, the last to leave & as in all owner operated businesses – the last to get paid.
            My point, that remains unanswered, is still are the Qantas workers paid a fair wage for what they do.
            In this case may be a definition of fair could be as against comparable jobs in Australia, & against for example AirNZ, Lufthansa, British Airways?
            No business can run sustainably if it’s costs (& I prefer to think of employees as investments, not costs) exceed it’s income – which appears to be the case here.
            mickleysavage – so how is this corporate thievery?

            • Colonial Viper 23.1.2.2.2.1

              No business can run sustainably if it’s costs (& I prefer to think of employees as investments, not costs) exceed it’s income – which appears to be the case here.
              mickleysavage – so how is this corporate thievery?

              So lets give Qantas CxO’s fat pay hikes even though costs already exceed revenues?

              Yeah right.

              Qantas is sitting on a couple of billion in cash and quarterly earnings of over US$100M.

              You’re making shit up. This is corporate greed, squeezing workers to get a few more cents per share out to the big investors.

    • Afewknowthetruth 23.2

      ‘Planet-fucking’ by way of putting emissions high in the atmosphere where they do the most damage was only ever a short term aberration in the grand scheme of things, and there are no ‘long term jobs’.

      ‘ensuring that the airline survives’. The airline may survive for five years or perhaps ten (depending on the rate at which we fall down the Hubbert curve).

      The longer Qantas does survive (along with other airlines), the worse off everyone still alive in 2030 will be.

      • Jenny 23.2.1

        ….organising a pay rise for the crew of the Titanic

        Our civilisation like the Titanic may be doomed but there is a lot we can do to mitigate the worst.

        I think that the Titanic disaster is a great parable of how we should act now before our civilisation goes down.

        The Titanic’s skipper having received repeated ice warnings, did not slow his ship down.

        How like Present day governments around the world.

        Captain Smith of the Titanic was doing what he and captains like him had been doing for years, taking calculated risks to make their companies look good.

        How like present day captains of industry, of BP or Solid Energy.

        At first the great liner appeared so slightly damaged that most of the passengers and many in the crew refused to believe she was doomed. In the first-class lounge, the band played upbeat tunes, and for a time there was almost a festive air.

        How like the rest of us, until the awful reality is fully revealed and it is to late to act to save ourselves.

        Various survivors reported at least one shot being fired to quell an incipient riot. Until near the end, some of the third-class passengers remained trapped below decks, prevented by locked gates and stern stewards from reaching the boats.

        How like those in the Third World who were the least responsible for climate change and resource depletion will forced to suffer the worst effects.

        The first lifeboats left the ship far less than full. The one occupied by Sir Cosmo and Lady Duff Gordon, rowed off with only 12 on board. Its capacity was 40.

        How finally, the brutal and callous hoarding of limited resources by a privileged elite is also likely to unfold.

        However things needn’t have been this way, if the strictly stratified mini society on board the Titanic had been more democratic the crew wouldn’t have acted as enforcers for the rich to lock the third class passengers below decks.

        If the unchallenged autocratic rule of profit first had been curtailed by a strong union among the crew then very likely the skipper would’ve been compelled to take more heed of safety and less risks and more care with the ship’s operation.

        Even after the iceberg had been struck, much could have been done, to limit the death toll if the ship had been more democratically organised.

        Victory to the workers of Qantas!

    • KJT 23.3

      What are Australian CEO’s rates compared with other countries, New Zealand’s?

      Why do they require 10 times more multiples of employees wages than Germany, Japan?
      http://kjt-kt.blogspot.com/2011/04/kia-ora-corporatism-and-neo-liberalism.html

      They seem to manage to find good CEO’s.

      We can find some good Chinese ones for $NZ500 per week.
      They will not want to pay NZ grocery prices though.

      Australia is one of the economies that is doing best. Why should employees miss out?

    • Ianupnorth 23.4

      Qantas pilots (say on the Boeing 737), on an Australian contract – earn more than a similar Air NZ pilot; however, Jet Connect salary rates (when Qantas did NZ regional/domestic) were lower than both – hence the issue; they want to off shore the contracts and cut costs.
       
      Jetstar pilots earn less than QF pilots

      • joe90 23.4.1

        Jetstar was set up as a union buster and my younger brother, a Jetstar skipper, is earning less than half of what a comparable Quantas position pays.

        • Colonial Viper 23.4.1.1

          The ‘professional upper middle class’ looked on generally without sympathy when the working class and blue collar workers were being smashed. They hailed lower income tax rates and tarriffs coming off new cars and cheaper electronic toys from first Japan then China.

          But they didn’t understand the lessons of solidarity and how capital will always attempt to extract more and more from labour. They didn’t understand that despite earning $150K pa and being professionally licensed, they were still just labour, and those things made no difference in a globalised world of wage arbitrage.

          And now, the ‘professional upper middle class’ (‘petit bourgeois’ if you will) is being fucked over by the same crew: capital.

  24. VT 24

    Anon
    Obviously QF international have a dependency on their Australian based workforce otherwise the “industrial action” would not have an impact on operations. QF international may aspire to engage “lower cost” workers based in Asia but this is evidently not a solution – else there would be no need for “grounding”. So this dependency is where the value equation lies. We must let the market (the Australian workers who can command this value, vs those who want to maximise return in their investment of other peoples money) to prevail.
    It’s all in the timing eh?

  25. Gosman 25

    My understanding is that the ruling in the Fair Work Court is not a suspension as the author of this post suggests. In fact the ruling is something that the Unions are not going to like very much, according to the commentator on Radio NZ National this morning.

    • Colonial Viper 25.1

      Qantas corporate was ordered to immediately call off their lock out.

      That’s a first step.

      • Gosman 25.1.1

        Well actually there’s a school of thought that the Qantas management engineered this little crisis to get this very outcome. What you seem to be failing to acknowledge is that the Unions are also not allowed to engage in industrial action at the moment which they were actively pursuing at a low level prior to the lock out.

  26. randal 26

    just five minutes ago the hair and teeth job on radio new zealand was askingthe “australian correspondent” who won?
    what a nitwit.

  27. Jenny 27

    What is the lockout about?

    There are three unions locked out in this dispute.

    1/ The Transport Workers Union, 2/ The Australian Licensed Aircraft Engineers Association, 3/ The Australian International Pilot Association

    The TWU is seeking:

    Protection for terms and conditions in terms of safety, training and standards – to apply to Qantas staff AND contractors.

    A 5% rise

    The union says most of its workers on the agreement are paid a base salary of only $38,000 a year and have had to rely on shift penalties and overtime pay to make up their wage to match the cost of living. The union say that this wage increase is necessary to compensate for the loss of over time worked which has been undermined by contracting out over the past 18 months.

    The TWU has already indicated that the 5% figure is negotiable and it will settle at a lower rate.

    The ALAEA is seeking:

    A clause that Qantas commit to local engineers doing heavy maintenance on the company’s growing fleet of new A380s.

    A 3% pay rise.

    The AIPA is seeking:

    A clause which would see all Qantas flights operated by Qantas pilots with the same pay training and conditions.

    A 2.5% pay rise which the AIPA say is negotiable.
    Qantas has told the pilots it cannot continue to operate if it is forced to pay all the pilots the same pay and conditions.

    The AIPA has never gone on strike in it’s 44 year history.

    The AIPA entire public industrial action over the past four months has been to make a positive in-flight announcements and to wear red ties with a campaign message on them.

    The AIPA say their industrial action has not cost the company a cent in revenue, grounded any flights, or even any caused any delays.

    Yet they have been locked out until they agree to accept lower wages for Qantas pilots hired overseas.

  28. uke 28

    In assessing this dispute it is useful to know just who owns Qantas:
     

    Qantas CEO Alan Joyce has made repeated reference to the “96 percent support” he received from shareholders at the company’s annual general meeting on October 28—the day before he and the Qantas board grounded the airlines’ entire global fleet.
     
    He did not mention that the biggest 20 shareholders control 80.3 percent of total voting shares, and that just the top four, a group of major global financial conglomerates, hold over 70 percent.
     
    Qantas is an example of how the most powerful financial interests exert sway over the commanding heights of the economy. Just 240 of the company’s 133,392 shareholders own 82.49 percent of the stock. Contrary to claims that some type of “shareholders democracy” exists, small investors have no say in either any company’s direction or conduct.
     
    The largest Qantas shareholder—with 22.72 percent of the company—is J. P. Morgan Nominees Australia, a division of the global J. P. Morgan investment house.
     
    The second largest is HSBC Custody Nominees with 18.91 percent. Next is National Nominees with an 18.26 percent stake. The fourth largest is Citicorp Nominees.
     
    These four investment funds are also among the largest shareholders of Australia’s four major banks, the Commonwealth Bank, National Australia Bank, Westpac Bank and ANZ Bank, which in turn are large shareholders of the investment funds.
     
    J. P. Morgan, HSBC, National Nominees and Citicorp are also the top four shareholders of Australia’s two largest resource companies, BHP-Billiton and Rio Tinto. They appear prominently in the top 20 list of shareholders of numerous companies, ranging from oil corporation Caltex to construction and property giants Leighton Holdings and Lend Lease.
     
    This web of interconnections guarantees that the executives of any company serve as the direct representatives of finance and carry out their dictates. They move seamlessly between different companies, serving the same essential masters. [emphases added]
     
     

    • Jenny 28.1

      Uke, thanks for this very useful information.

      It explains a lot.

      Banksters ruthless and greedy enough to crash an economy and them pay themselves huge bonuses would have no scruples about doing the same to an airline.

  29. Jenny 29

    There are a number of imponderables about the legal injunction to halt all industrial action.

    Now that the union’s hands are bound up by legal red tape from taking industrial action is the company now free to continue with their plans to pay foreign employees less?

    Was the real reason for the lock-out to get this ban on the unions, while leaving the company free to act?

    Is this fair?

    If this is the case, now more than ever is international solidarity actions directed against Qantas need to be stepped up.

  30. Jenny 30

    Philippines air line workers lead the way

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/world/news/image.cfm?c_id=2&gal_cid=2&gallery_id=122468#8231157

    The above link is to a photo of striking Philippines Air Lines workers picketing a Philippines Qantas office, in support of their locked out Australian colleagues.

    If the airlines unions are legally forbidden to defend themselves then it is up to other unionists to take up the struggle the ACTU and NZCTU should put out a call to all unionists to put bans on this company until they desist with their racist plans.

    • Colonial Viper 30.1

      Put the call out to consumers and travel agents to stop booking with Qantas.

      • Jenny 30.1.1

        Consumerist boycotts have generally been ineffective unless twinned with organised action led by trade unionists.

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