Workers have blown up the “sick” decision to hand millions of dollars in bonuses to Qantas executives if the airline cancels flights and loses baggage.
Unions have criticized Qantas for handing out millions of dollars in bonuses to executives as the airline is plagued by flight cancellations, delays and lost luggage.
In a statement to the ASX in June, the company announced that it would be rewarding four executives with more than $4 million worth of shares, despite the ongoing commuter chaos.
The announcement comes as Qantas draws heavy criticism for its declining performance, resulting in Qantas being ranked 92nd out of 130 airlines for on-time performance by aviation analysis website OAG.
OAG data shows the national airline delayed more than one in three flights in June, and more than 7 percent of flights were canceled in May.
Australian Licensed Aircraft Engineers’ Association federal secretary Steve Purvinas said executives did not deserve bonuses after Qantas’ poor performance.
“The airline is being destroyed by these people,” he said.
“You shouldn’t get any bonus at all. You should be fired.”
Mr Purvinas put the blame for the disruption on the shoulders of executives, whom he blamed for the ongoing passenger and staff problems.
“I spoke to Qantas staff today and the anger in the shop is growing by the hour,” he said.
“There will be no Qantas if their mismanagement continues.”
If they meet performance targets, Qantas Chief Financial Officer Vanessa Hudson would be eligible for $1.15 million in stock, Jetstar Chief Executive Gareth Evans, $1.22 million, Andrew David, Chief Qantas Domestic and International Executive, $1.15 million and Olivia, Chief Executive of Qantas Loyalty Wirth would receive $985,000 in shares.
The bonuses would be paid in August 2023, although Mr Evans has since resigned.
The company will also reward approximately 17,000 eligible non-executive employees with shares valued at an estimated $5,000.
Executive bonuses have been suspended in the last two years of the pandemic, which has seen Qantas receive $2 billion in government funding to stay afloat.
In a statement, Qantas noted that executive pay had been frozen for four years, during which time total executive pay had been cut by 70 percent. The airline noted that several key executives – including the chief executive officer and group chairman – did not take home pay for periods during the pandemic.
The airline, run by Chief Executive Alan Joyce, laid off thousands of workers in a widely condemned move that turned out to be illegal. In May, Qantas lost an appeal in federal court, which upheld a finding that outsourcing its 2000 operations violated the Fair Work Act.
Transport Workers’ Union national secretary Michael Kaine said the bonuses “put salt in the deep wounds” of ex-employees.
“This is a sickening betrayal of illegally laid off workers, troubled passengers and Australian taxpayers whose support propped up the airline while executives made cruel decisions that destroyed lives,” he said.
“Qantas executives have turned a once-cherished airline into a national disgrace, and Alan Joyce is paying out rewards.”
Mr Kaine said the multimillion-dollar bonuses were a “bribe” to force managers to pressure workers into accepting “inferior terms”.
Speaking at the airline’s 2021 annual general meeting when the bonus program was announced, Qantas chairman Richard Goyder said executive leadership saved the company.
“It was not a foregone conclusion that Qantas would survive this pandemic,” he said.
“The fact that the group has fared so well is a huge credit to them (management).”
A Qantas spokesman defended the awards, noting that non-executive employees would receive awards with similar terms.
“These unions know very well that when the time comes, we want everyone who contributes to our recovery to be a part of the success,” the spokesman said.
“All of our frontline team members, including cabin crew and engineers, stand ready to receive more than $170 million in bonuses if certain conditions are met, in addition to the $300 million in bonuses, paid before the pandemic.”
Mr Purvinas, however, rubbed the response by arguing that bonuses had been announced but not paid in the past.
“A $2000 bonus was announced (in) 2018. It has still not been paid to licensed aircraft engineers four years after it was announced,” he said.
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