Qan­tas staff land $ 90m pay bonus

Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS -

QAN­TAS is shar­ing the spoils of its es­ti­mated $ 1.6 bil­lion turn­around by pay­ing $ 90 mil­lion in bonuses to staff who’ve taken an 18- month pay freeze.

The air­line will gift a one- off pay­ment to up to 28,000 staff, equal to 5 per cent of their salary, in recog­ni­tion of the sig­nif­i­cant im­prove­ment in its for­tunes.

Qan­tas is spend­ing about $ 90 mil­lion on the bonuses, which equates to an av­er­age of $ 3200 per em­ployee.

The pay­ment will ini­tially only be avail­able to the 7000 staff who have so far agreed to the 18- month wage freeze in their en­ter­prise bar­gain­ing agree­ment, with the re- main­der to re­ceive the bonus when they move onto a new EBA within the next two years.

An­a­lysts say Qan­tas is on track to post an al­most $ 1 bil­lion pre- tax profit for the 2014/ 15 fi­nan­cial year, a huge turn­around from its record $ 646 mil­lion un­der­ly­ing loss in the prior year. The im­prove­ment is due in part to ef­forts to strip $ 2 bil­lion from the air­line’s costs, but also lower fuel prices and the end of its bat­tle for mar­ket share with Vir­gin Aus­tralia.

Chief ex­ec­u­tive Alan Joyce said wage freeze agree­ments had helped Qan­tas carve out $ 875 mil­lion worth of ben­e­fits in the past year.

“This has only been pos­si­ble be- cause of the con­tri­bu­tion by our peo­ple,” he said in a note to staff.

“Key to this has been our wage freeze pol­icy that has made us more com­pet­i­tive and sus­tain­able.”

Trans­port Work­ers Union sec­re­tary Tony Shel­don wel­comed the bonuses, but said Qan­tas did not de­serve any credit for gen­eros­ity.

“The com­pany has used the money that they’ve taken off the em­ploy­ees to turn around and pay it back to them and say they’re Fa­ther Christ­mas,” he said.

“Well Scrooge is alive and kick­ing.”

He also hit out at the air­line for in­creas­ingly favour­ing part- time work­ers, claim­ing many of the union’s mem­bers were not paid enough to pro­vide for their fam­i­lies and were liv­ing be­low the poverty line.

BT In­vest­ment Man­age­ment an­a­lyst Son­dal Ben­san said the bonus pay­ment was a sen­si­ble move, given the air­line’s turn­around. But the dra­matic im­prove­ment in prof­itabil­ity doesn’t mean Qan­tas should stop press­ing ahead with a wage freeze for re­main­ing em­ploy­ees, he said.

“You’ve got to re­mem­ber these busi­nesses are still cycli­cal and things can turn down as well as up and you have to align your busi­ness and your cost base for that,” Mr Ben­san said.

FIRST CLASS: Qan­tas staff are the ones re­ceiv­ing the ser­vice thanks to bonus pay­ments in re­turn for ac­cept­ing an 18- month wage freeze.

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