The ACTU and airline unions today called on Qantas to come clean with employees about plans to casualise its workforce and cut jobs.

Qantas CEO Geoff Dixon has announced publicly that the airline intends to reduce its permanent workforce and change its composition by employing a minimum of 25% of casuals and employees from labour hire companies. Qantas management has flagged with unions that the eventual target is in fact 45%.

ACTU Secretary Greg Combet said, Over the past few days Qantas management has attacked its workforce in a clumsy attempt to introduce labour hire employees at Melbourne airport.

This is a new and unwelcome approach from a company that once had a reputation for maintaining decent pay and conditions. Casualisation will inflict lower living standards on Qantas workers and leave them without entitlements such as holiday pay and sick leave.

Mr Combet said unions were prepared to work constructively with Qantas.

Qantas should recognise that its employees and their unions have a long history of working together in difficult times. Currently thousands of employees are working
part-time, on annual leave, on unpaid leave, are job sharing or taking part in other
cost-saving arrangements. They have done this in good faith to ensure Qantas remains profitable and their jobs are secure.

Todays profit announcement by Qantas confirms its status as one of the most profitable airlines in the world. The 19.7% reduction in profits announced must be seen in the light of significant increases in profits in the last two years and a substantial capital depreciation program, Mr Combet said.

Qantas should not dismiss the opportunity to work co-operatively with its workforce. A confrontational approach will only harm the company, its dedicated employees and the public.

There will be meetings of Qantas workers around Australia to consider these developments.