Qantas plans to cut another 2,400 jobs by outsourcing all ground handling work at Australian airports, in another blow to its workforce after announcing 6,000 redundancies in June in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The announcement comes after Qantas revealed last week that it has fallen to $ 1.9 billion in the whole year and will face “tough decisions” during a slower than expected recovery from the health crisis.
Qantas said Tuesday that it is proposing to outsource work including baggage handling and plane cleaning at 10 airports where it currently has about 2,000 Qantas employees. Qantas said existing employees could “bid” to keep working under the terms of their workplace agreement.
Meanwhile, Jetstar, the low-cost arm of the company, has decided to outsource ground handling to six airports, resulting in 370 jobs lost. Fifty Sydney Airport bus drivers are slated to lose their jobs.
The new round of 2,400 surpluses will raise the total job loss in Qantas in response to COVID-19 to 8,500, or nearly a third of the pre-pandemic workforce of 29,000. About 20,000 employees remain unemployed.
Qantas is currently operating with about 20 percent of its domestic capacity prior to the outbreak and has suspended all international flights until at least the middle of next year.
Domestic Qantas CEO Andrew David said the airline would save about $ 100 million annually by outsourcing ground handling work at airports Adelaide, Alice Springs, Brisbane, Cairns, Canberra, Darwin, Melbourne, Perth, Sydney and Townsville.
The announcement today will be very painful for our hard-working employees, most of which have been excluded without work for many months already, David said in a statement.
This may add to the confusion but that’s the sad truth of what COVID-19 has done for our industry.
Every major airline in the world uses third-party ground processors, Jetstar CEO Gareth Evans said, which can do the work at a lower cost since it can service multiple airlines at one airport.
He said the contract of service would also prohibit Qantas and Jetstar from spending around $100 million in the next five years on ground handling equipment.
“We understand that this decision will be very difficult news for the ground handling team and their families at a truly challenging time,” said Mr. Evans.
But unfortunately, this ongoing crisis means that we will make some difficult decisions about our team members who provide reliable and professional service for many years.