Qantas has confirmed a further 2,000 employees will be axed from its workforce, as it moves to outsource ground handling operations at 10 airports across Australia.
It brings the total job losses at the national carrier to around 8,500 from its 29,000-strong pre-Covid workforce, after it made more than 6,000 staff redundant when Covid-19 border restrictions were introduced earlier this year.
“This is another tough day for Qantas, particularly for our ground handling teams and their families,” Qantas domestic and international CEO Andrew David said.
“Unfortunately, Covid has turned aviation upside down. Airlines around the world are having to make dramatic decisions in order to survive and the damage will take years to repair.”
David said that though there had been some positive news with regards to domestic borders, international travel won’t be back to pre-Covid levels until “at least 2024”.
“We have a massive job ahead of us to repay debt and we know our competitors are aggressively cutting costs to emerge leaner,” he said.
The job cuts are expected to save around $100 million annually, while cutting equipment costs will save around $80 million over the next five years.
While the Transport Workers Union (TWU) submitted a bid on behalf of employees to keep them in jobs, Qantas said none of the bids met the cost-cutting objectives. However, external bidders were able to meet all objectives.
The TWU said it was a “dark day” for workers.
“Qantas workers have worked hard over recent months with EY to find millions of dollars in cost savings and efficiencies,” TWU national secretary Michael Kaine said.
“EY advised us our bid was competitive in comparison to other contractors. To reject its own workers like this is spiteful and will hurt the airline deeply.”
All affected ground handling staff will be entitled to a redundancy package, and be given support to transition to new jobs outside the business.
Jetstar has already transitioned its ground handling operations at six airports to external providers.
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