Qantas unions expect international support for their fight against the airline’s major restructure which will cost up to 1000 Australian jobs.
Qantas unions are considering industrial action, as they ramp up the attack on the airline's plans to overhaul its international service.
Qantas yesterday revealed a five-year plan to create a premium service in Asia and other restructuring that will lead to job losses.
Unions said they were gearing up to fight the job cuts and independent Senator Nick Xenophon had promised to push for a parliamentary inquiry into whether Qantas had breached the Qantas Sale Act of 1992, which allowed the privatisation of the airline.
The Australian and International Pilots Association, together with the Transport Workers Union and Australian Licensed Aircraft Engineers Association teamed up today in Canberra to meet politicians.
Tony Sheldon from the TWU said ballots were being taken now on industrial action and he expects support from fellow unions in the US, UK and South-East Asia.
‘‘I’m confident that those countries will take actions in support of the actions that ourselves, our members, other unions decide to take over the coming struggle with Qantas to keep the brand alive, to save the company from itself and save decent paying jobs in this country,’’ Mr Sheldon told a media conference in Canberra.
Captain Barry Jackson told the conference he expected the 1000 jobs scheduled to be lost to become 5000.
‘‘It won’t be 150 pilots it will probably be about 5000 jobs could be lost if this is allowed to continue,’’ he said.
Qantas has dismissed those figures as misleading, with CEO Alan Joyce calling them "nonsense".
‘‘There’s a lot of nonsense being talked about - the unions talked about there being 6000 jobs (impacted),’’ Mr Joyce said in Canberra. ‘‘There’s a 1000 jobs impacted.’’
He said under the airline’s plan, it would be able to create more jobs ‘‘here in Australia’’ in the future.
Earlier today, Mr Joyce hit the airwaves to defend the overhaul.
Mr Joyce said the company’s other operations were subsidising the losses made from its international business, which is losing $200 million a year due to the high Australian dollar and the rising fuel prices.
He said if Qantas didn’t change, it could follow other airlines, such as Ansett, PanAm and TWA, into failure.
‘‘We don’t want Qantas to be next that’s why we need to change and why need to adapt to where the environment is today ,’’ he told the Nine Network.
Qantas has forecast a pre-tax profit of $500 million for the 2010-11 financial year.