Boss Watch: Qantas starts new job cutting binge

Qantas cuts 500 more jobs

Qantas said on May 21 it would axe more than 500 engineering jobs from Tullamarine and Avalon in Victoria. Qantas said: “Further changes to Avalon are expected as the business continues to modernise.”

Qantas CEO Alan Joyce said the company had to cut maintenance costs to match its competitors, and that newer aircraft “require less maintenance, less often”.

The latest cuts bring Qantas’s job losses since August to 2000. The Wall Street Journal said Joyce has “slashed jobs as he attempts to make the business … maintain [Qantas's] coveted investment-grade credit rating”.

O’Farrell attacks sick and injured workers’ rights

Unions NSW says the NSW government’s proposed changes to workers compensation will reduce recovery pay, cut off medical and income payments completely if recovery is not quick enough, and will not cover workers on their way to and from work.

“People who have been badly injured at work are among society’s most vulnerable,” Unions NSW secretary Mark Lennon said on May 14. He said people “whose lives were turned upside down due to a work-related injury” don’t need “the government to swoop in and remove a chunk of the modest entitlements that allow them to maintain a dignified existence”.

Regardless of the chronic problems, complications and surgery that can result from workplace injury, the NSW government is proposing a two-and-a-half year cap on WorkCover entitlements, after which injured workers would be dumped on the dole.

Lennon said the union campaign against the changes “will be the most widespread in NSW since [the] Your Rights At Work” campaign against Work Choices. Unions will rally against the workers compensation cuts outside NSW parliament at 12.30pm on June 13.

Smelter sacks hundreds despite gov’t subsidies

The planned closure of Kurri Kurri aluminium smelter will mean 500 jobs lost in the Hunter Valley, said the May 24 Sydney Morning Herald. Norsk Hydro, the world’s fourth largest aluminium company, owns the smelter.

The company blamed the high Australian dollar and low aluminium prices for the shutdown. The high dollar, on the back of a rampant mining sector, is squeezing much of Australia’s manufacturing industries.

Another big aluminium company, Rio Tinto, has also warned it may cut jobs. Alcoa is expected to announce big cuts to its Point Henry operation.

Together, these companies have received hundreds of millions in public subsidies. All three are highly profitable businesses.

Geelong Trades Hall Secretary Tim Gooden has said such heavily subsidised companies should be nationalised if they try to cut jobs or shut down.

[Got a tip for Boss Watch? Email: paulb@greenleft.org.au.]


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