Wednesday, March 4, 2015
Qantas makes a profit, union wants a share

Qantas has reported an underlying profit before tax of $367 million and a statutory profit after tax of $206 million for the six months ended 31 December 2014.

This underlying profit before tax is Qantas' best first-half performance since 2010 and an improvement of $619 million compared with the same period last year.

The group achieved a 4.8 per cent reduction in comparable unit cost and a 2.1 per cent increase in revenue to $8.1 billion, driven by rapid progress with Qantas Transformation and recovering yields and loads in a stabilising environment.

The group is now targeting $675 million of transformation benefits in financial year 2015, up from the previous target of $600 million. Combined with the $204 million in benefits realised in financial year 2014, this will result in total benefits of at least $875 million by 30 June 2015.

All operating segments of the Qantas Group were profitable in the half, at an underlying earnings before interest and tax level.

Qantas International was profitable for the first time since the global financial crisis, with underlying EBIT of $59 million representing a turnaround of $321 million on the prior corresponding period. The business is expected to achieve its target – announced in 2011 – of a return to profit in financial year 2015.

In the domestic market, Qantas and Jetstar reported combined underlying EBIT of close to $300 million.

"Reward workers for getting Qantas back to profit," TWU demands

The Transport Workers' Union in the meantime is demanding Qantas stop cutting jobs and repay its workforce with decent, permanent employment as the airline returns to profit.

Qantas half-year results today show an underlying profit before tax of $367 million – a figure which could not have been achieved without the dedication and sacrifice of its employees.

"Our members have full-time bills that can't be paid for with part-time wages," said TWU national secretary Tony Sheldon. "The workforce and their families have borne the brunt of wage freezes and redundancies. Qantas has cut full-time jobs and replaced them with part-time jobs. It is through their hard work and loyalty that the company has turned around and it is time to reward them with job security," Sheldon said.

The TWU is particularly concerned with:

An announcement made just weeks ago by Q Catering seeking redundancies. This is despite the company bringing in casual workers to meet demand. Qantas' plans are clear: they seek to replace quality jobs with casual work. The latest profits show there is no economic need to continue with the downgrading of the workforce.
Qantas Ground Services has a workforce made up entirely of part-time workers. This does not allow working families to live in dignity.
Qantas' recent problems stem from decisions taken by current management. They include the capacity war with rival airlines and botched attempts to set up footholds in Asia. This involved buying and leasing billions of dollars worth of aircraft without being able to demonstrate any return on investment.

Now the company is back in profit the TWU expects the impact these decisions have had on workers to be rolled back.

"Alan Joyce made just over $2 million last year when Qantas posted a $2.8 billion loss. Our members meanwhile find it difficult to pay their bills because their hours have been cut or they are employed on a casual basis. We are calling a halt to this robbery of the community's economic freedom," said Sheldon.

"Australia has the second highest rate of temporary workers in the OECD, putting working families in peril.

"If a small airline like Fiji Airways, in which Qantas invests, can pay bonuses to its workforce this week after posting profits then the least Qantas can do is tell its workforce their jobs won't be cut," Mr Sheldon added.
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