Monday, January 30, 2006

Qantas on Government’s ‘affirmative action’ teat?

It’s possible that I’ve become jaded and cynical, but it seems to me that a pattern emerges from some recent news stories. With my emphasis in the following, read on...

Qantas move offshore might cost 2500 jobs

Sydney Morning Herald, October 22, 2005

Qantas chief executive Geoff Dixon has put himself on a collision course with the unions, after confirming the airline was looking to move “significant parts” of its engineering operations overseas. Such a move could result in the loss of up to 2500 maintenance jobs.

Blue skies for Qantas in new workplace laws

Sydney Morning Herald, December 3, 2005

Business is forecasting financial windfalls from the Federal Government’s industrial relations overhaul, with Qantas tipped as a key battleground and a lucrative winner.

Qantas facing strikes

The Age, December 10, 2005

Qantas passengers face widespread disruptions next month, with thousands of maintenance workers threatening to down tools over the airline’s plans to cut wage conditions... Qantas executive general manager for people, Kevin Brown, denied the airline wanted to cut penalties, but said the unions’ claims would “significantly add to our cost base in an industry where there are massive redundancies” and competitive pressures.

Protection of US route likely to stay

The Age, January 30, 2006

In the strongest indication yet that the Howard Government will protect Qantas’ most profitable route from further competition ... the Federal Government [is] set to block a bid by Singapore Airlines to fly from Australia to Los Angeles..

Assuming Australia’s market economy needs or can support a local international carrier, surely a strong and resilient one can’t be built by all this mollycoddling and protectionism. Such ‘socialist’ measures might be understandable if Qantas was still publicly owned, but this is a private commercial enterprise, for heavens’ sake.

It can’t be argued that the company is providing jobs to Australians, because several thousand highly skilled positions seem set to be “moved” offshore.

Seems just another sorry example of more fumbling on competition policy by the Howard Government’s selective ‘socialism’.



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