Bosswatch: O'Farrell, Qantas & Telstra slash jobs

June 14, 2012
NSW Treasurer Mike Baird.

O’Farrell plans to axe 10,000 jobs

The June 12 Coalition NSW government budget outlined plans to cut 10,000 public sector jobs, on top of 5000 sackings already announced, and slash more than $1 billion from government programs. But the government refused to say where to job losses will be. The Labor opposition called the cuts a “betrayal of firefighters, hospital cleaners and teachers”.

The budget also projected the leasing of Port Kembla’s shipping terminal to private interests, adding to existing plans to lease Port Botany.

While jobs and services are cut, AAP said the budget included a “move that will please the business lobby, the payroll tax threshold will be raised to $689,000, from $678,000”.

NSW treasurer Mike Baird defended the mass job and spending cuts by saying “without action ... the AAA [rating] would be gone”.

Qantas and Telstra cut jobs — again

Fair Work Australia has opened the door for more cuts at Qantas, backing the airline’s move to end the policy of safety checks before all flights. Qantas confirmed 30 engineers would be sacked.

The union representing Qantas engineers said it would take its case to the Civil Aviation Safety Authority, citing figures that engineer and pilot pre-flight checks led to eight times more defects being spotted, and that pilot-only checks would risk missing errors.

The new jobs cuts come after Qantas said last month it would cut 500 engineering jobs in Victoria. Job losses at Qantas total more than 2000 in the past year.

Telstra announced on June 14 it plans to close its Brisbane call centre and cut a further 300 jobs.

The jobs are likely to go to India or the Philippines in what Telstra said was to “consolidate its credit management call centre work”.

Rinehart closer to Fairfax board seat

Australia's richest person, mining billionaire Gina Rinehart, is suspected of making a June 14 sharemarket raid to lift her hold on Fairfax Media to more than 15%.

Rinehart is already the largest shareholder in Fairfax, and has been pushing for months to gain two Fairfax board seats.

Funds management group Allan Gray, which owns 8.3% of Fairfax’s shares, has backed Rinehart’s push, calling for an “overhaul of the company”. It said Fairfax needed “a tough outsider to shake things up”.

Advertising and media magnate John Singleton said that the Fairfax board’s refusal to so far give Rinehart a seat was “the worst corporate insult I’ve ever seen”.

Other big Fairfax shareholders include the Commonwealth Bank (11%) and the National Australia Bank (7.1%). Earlier this year, Rinehart bought herself a seat on the Channel Ten board.

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