Big Brand Shocker

Image Credit: The AgeLast night, I was shocked to read of the grounding of Qantas in retaliation to union demands and ongoing strike action. Turmoil for passengers around the globe. It is interesting that unions are required to give notice of strike action, but the company does not. Notice is not required of Qantas under the Fair Work Act, but it demonstrates a lack of faith by the company. It’s great media fodder that CEO Alan Joyce secures a 71% pay increase to 5.01 million dollars per annum, and the following day, implements a full scale strike against Qantas workers. A good example for Occupy Melbourne’s 1%. All of this while refusing pilots a 2.5% increase.

I watch with interest the complexities of social corporate sustainability played out in Australia, and around the world. Sourcing cheaper labour offshore is a widespread strategy to compete based on lowest cost. Lowest cost does not factor in the broader system impact of local job losses and the flow on impact to the local Australian economy.

Watching the Qantas issue unfold via the media, it’s fair to say that ‘bully boy’ tactics are being played by both sides. However, we are now witnessing the worst possible behaviour by the corporate, as Qantas management refuses to continue to negotiate with unions, instead escalating the issue. All the while drawing in sectors of their workforce that were not part of the negotiations in the first place.

There has to be a better way than this.

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