19-Aug-2011 10:37 AM

Virgin offers to take Qantas employees

Virgin Australia is in talks with unions to offer employment to the estimated 1000 Qantas employees that will face redundancy as a result of the airline’s restructure (Herald Sun, 19-Aug-2011). Virgin Australia human resources head executive Richard Tanner said the airline was prepared to deal directly with its rival to take the workers off its hands. "We are keen to ensure that as many as possible of the highly skilled staff being displaced by Qantas are provided the opportunity to be considered for suitable roles at our airline," Mr Tanner said in the correspondence. He added "Virgin Australia is committed to its Australian roots." Qantas conceded the period is “very difficult” for many employees and hopes “this is a genuine offer rather than a PR stunt”. The Aviation Unions Federation of Australia said Virgin’s stated proved an airline could be profitable with local staff and "flies in the face of Qantas' statements that they cannot survive in Australia". Virgin Australia expects a net loss of up to AUD80 million for FY2010/11.

Transport Workers Union: "[Qantas is] expanding the airline but getting rid of Australian jobs and that's a very fundamental mistake … Qantas has enjoyed an enormous natural advantage over Virgin when it comes to reputation and Australian identity. Yet the way things are going ... things could turn around very, very quickly." Tony Sheldon, secretary. Source: Herald Sun, 19-Aug-2011.

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