Queensland Qantas employees under threat from a possible outsourcing of work have made a last-ditch attempt to save their jobs.
Queensland Qantas employees under threat from a possible outsourcing of work have made a last-ditch attempt to save their jobs.

‘Soul-destroying’ choices facing Qld Qantas staff

Qantas' ground operators are proposing cuts to middle management and stopping $13m cash splash on new machinery as part of a last-ditch effort to save their own jobs.

About 230 workers at Brisbane Airport are among 2500 across Australia fighting against Qantas' plans to outsource ground service operations.

The workers, with the help of Ernst & Young consultants, have submitted a bid outlining their own proposal to cut costs and find efficiencies they hope will persuade Qantas to keep ground services in-house.

The bid makes the case for allowing Qantas workers to continue doing the airline's baggage handling, ramp work and cabin cleaning at 10 airports including Brisbane, Cairns and Townsville.

Transport Workers Union National Secretary Michael Kaine said workers put together a competitive bid to remain employed by Qantas.

"With EY's expertise and the in-depth knowledge of our members about the Qantas processes we have been able to submit a bid which is competitive on cost while maintaining standards on service and safety," he said.

"Workers, some of whom have done this work for many decades, have identified numerous efficiencies and savings."

Brisbane workers have proposed streamlining middle management and halting a $13m spend on new ground service equipment. Pic. Brad Hunter
Brisbane workers have proposed streamlining middle management and halting a $13m spend on new ground service equipment. Pic. Brad Hunter

Brisbane workers have proposed streamlining middle management and halting a $13m spend on new ground service equipment, which Qantas' worker Peter Seage said was unnecessary.

"They've made record profits over the past five years and now, while they're making us bid for our own jobs, they want to spend an outlandish amount of money on un-needed machinery," he said.

Mr Seage, 59, said bidding for his Brisbane Airport job after 18 years with Qantas was "devastating".

"It's soul destroying after so many record years the airline has had," he said.

"We honestly believe we're the best of the best in Brisbane.

"We've been willing to adapt and change to any crisis Qantas found itself in.

"I love the job and I love the company."

A spokesman for the Qantas Group insisted the workers' bid would be considered.

"We've received the inhouse bid from our ground handling employees and thanked them for the work they have done preparing it," he said.

"COVID has meant airlines have to make fundamental changes to their operations, and whether this work remains inhouse or is done by specialist ground handlers, it has to be more efficient in the future."

"We'll review the bid against the tenders we've received from external suppliers and will provide an update to employees once a decision has been made."

Mr Seage said Qantas would lose decades of experience, "love and passion" with the outsourcing.

"For a few dollars cheaper, we can't understand why they would give away the experience and the knowledge," he said.

"We shift animals, seafood and dangerous goods every day and it's a critical job that's often underestimated."


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