Wednesday, 26 August 2020

Qantas Group to outsource ground handling at the cost of 2500 more jobs

In a horrendous blow to hard-working Qantas staff, the group has announced it will be seeking to outsource its ground handling division with the loss of up to 2500 jobs.  This is in addition to the 600 job cuts the Australian airline has already announced. 

Qantas and Jetstar directly employ people in various ground operations roles - including baggage handling and aircraft cleaning – at 11 large airports around Australia. 

Qantas is proposing to outsource its ground handling operations at the 10 Australian airports where the work is done inhouse. As part of this, a review will assess both external ground handlers and an in-house bid in search of making this function more efficient. Should the decision be taken to outsource the work, it could impact up to 2000 employees, including some management roles.

Qantas is proposing to outsource its bus services for customers and employees in and around Sydney Airport. A similar, but separate, review will also be conducted on this proposal. Should the decision be taken to outsource the work it could impact 50 employees.

Jetstar Airways has decided to outsource ground handling at the six remaining Australian airports where the work is done in-house, impacting 370 jobs, subject to union consultation.

The airline says it has been forced into the drastic position because of the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic that has had such a negative effect on the company's finances.  The outsourcing message follows the $2.7 billion statutory loss and a $4 billion drop in revenue in the second half of of the 2020 financial year.

The group confirmed that it has entered into discussions with unions and employees this week, in line with its legal obligation.  

Qantas Domestic CEO, Andrew David said:  “This is the greatest challenge the aviation industry has ever faced and airlines have to change how they operate to ensure they can survive long-term.

We’ve already taken drastic action, with more than 220 aircraft grounded, the vast majority of our workforce stood down and assets mortgaged to raise cash. Right now, our domestic capacity is at 20 per cent of pre-COVID levels and international travel is expected to take years to recover.

We know travel restrictions will lift eventually, but the market will be very different. Every airline will come through this much leaner and more efficient, and we have to be able to compete if we’re going to survive. Outsourcing this work to specialist ground handlers would save an estimated $100 million in operating costs each year.

Today’s announcement will be very tough for our hard-working teams, most of whom have already been stood down for months without work. This obviously adds to the uncertainty but this is the unfortunate reality of what COVID-19 has done to our industry.”

The 10 airports affected are Adelaide, Alice Springs, Brisbane, Cairns, Canberra, Darwin, Melbourne, Perth, Sydney and Townsville.

In line with their enterprise bargaining agreement, all employees will then have to bid for other positions with the carrier and rather than relying on previous good conduct and ability,  each person will need to demonstrate they can deliver on the objectives Qantas needs to meet.

Jetstar ground handling
Jetstar has decided to outsource ground handling at Adelaide, Avalon, Brisbane, Cairns, Melbourne and Sydney Domestic. This is subject to consultation with employees and their representatives. Jetstar already outsources at 17 Australian airport terminals.

Affected employees will be provided a redundancy package and be provided with support to transition to new jobs outside the business. We expect there will be a range of opportunities for impacted team members with suppliers in the sector as the industry recovers.

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