House debates

Wednesday, 24 October 2018

Constituency Statements


10:29 am

Photo of Steve GeorganasSteve Georganas (Hindmarsh, Australian Labor Party) Share this | | Hansard source

I rise today to talk about and support Qantas workers fighting for a better deal from Qantas. In two days time, the Qantas annual general meeting will be held in Brisbane, and this year Qantas will be voting on a particular item on the agenda: the remuneration report and the long-term plan for its CEO. Qantas has had a great year. We applaud that. They've had a 15 per cent increase in annual profits, with a $980 million net profit after tax this year following a $852 million profit the year before.

We all want Australian based companies to do well and to be successful, especially iconic companies like Qantas, which is so Australian. We all love it so much because it's an iconic Aussie business. But not at the expense of a loyal workforce. Qantas has had some tough times and workers have endured pay freezes dating back to 2014. They also endured 5,000 staff redundancies. While this has been happening senior executive salaries have grown, with packages sitting at around $53 million. The CEO of Qantas sits on around $2.125 million, with a cash bonus of just under $2 million. In 2017-18, the board chairman and directors have had increases in their packages of between $206,000 and $654,000. Pretty good work if you can get it.

There is no doubt in my mind that Qantas workers—the call centre staff, the check-in staff, the lounge staff, the baggage staff and the air crew—are an integral part of the success of this remarkable and iconic company. Those people work hard, they're dedicated, they love the airline industry, they love the airline they work for and Qantas is what it is today because of those Qantas workers. I'm always impressed by the amazing staff based in Adelaide, which I go in and out of regularly, and around the country. Success is a team effort. If you have a team that fails to meet the expectations of the travelling public, it will ultimately fail. Qantas hasn't failed because of the team it has and its workers. We only need to look at some of the less successful cases in the US to see how poor management culture filters down and destroys a company. That's why I'm calling on Qantas and its shareholders to support the workers. Do the right thing and come to the table with unions and workers to make the best deal possible. Linking a $2,000 bonus for the workers to the signing of a new enterprise agreement is absolute blackmail. So as the Qantas AGM meets in Brisbane in the next couple of days, I'd urge decision-makers— (Time expired)