The ACTU today welcomed the decision by investors not to endorse Airline Partners bid for Qantas and called upon the Takeovers Panel to abide by the law and refuse to allow late acceptances of APA’s offer.


Airline Partners bid for Qantas failed at 7pm on Friday 4 May when they failed to obtain 50% of Qantas’ shares. APA purports to have received a late offer to sell Qantas shares from a US investor which would take acceptances from 46% to 50.6%.


In an unprecedented move a weekend meeting of the Takeover Panel is considering the approval the late offer to sell and thereby handing control of Qantas to the consortium.


ACTU spokesperson Richard Watts today described the process as a farce and akin to “Allowing another player on the field after the game to kick an uncontested goal.”


Mr Watts said:


“The shareholders have made their choice and the bid has failed. There are billions of dollars of investors’ money and tens of thousands of jobs at stake Treasurer Costello must ensure the rules are complied with and an end is put to this fiasco.


“It is of great concern that the Government appointed Takeovers Panel is dominated by interests involved directly or indirectly in the Qantas bid and is seriously compromised with its President from Macquarie Bank, the force behind the APA bid. If the Government does not act to ensure the law is adhered to the Qantas unions will investigate its legal options.”


It is of great concern to all Qantas workers that the Qantas Board appears to have placed its own interests ahead of those of the Qantas shareholders. The Qantas unions are of the view that Margaret Jackson is in an untenable position after passionately supporting the bid and talking down the Qantas share value. Margaret Jackson should immediately resign. The Qantas unions will continue to work constructively with Qantas to ensure one of the world’s greatest and most profitable airlines continues as an Australian controlled public company.


Mr Watts said: “Qantas workers are strongly opposed to the takeover bid which, if successful will result in a reduction in services and Australian jobs.”