Qantas’ next CEO needs to improve workplace relations and “treat employees as an investment rather than a cost”, unions have said, as the Flying Kangaroo looks for Alan Joyce’s replacement.
The TWU and Flight Attendants Association of Australia are among the unions that have launched a broadside in The Australian over Joyce’s approach to industrial relations, which has seen the airline and unions at loggerheads for much of his tenure.
Speaking to the newspaper, TWU national secretary Michael Kaine accused the outgoing CEO of letting down employees and the Australian public with his management and IR style.
“The new CEO has got to be courageous enough to break away from that Joyce management model of executive greed and turn Qantas in a new direction, and that begins by engaging with the workforce who’ve been let down at every turn by the Qantas approach,” he said.
“He’s taken an approach that has consistently said ‘when times are good, keep your hands off our profits, we need to build up for a rainy day’ – and when times are bad, Alan Joyce has gone cap in hand through the halls of parliament seeking community support. He’s received that without strings attached, and we as a community are suffering the consequences of that.”
Terri O’Toole, national secretary of the FAAA, also condemned Joyce for “attacking workers’ conditions” in the name of shareholder profits.
“Their whole enterprise bargaining tactics have been so aggressive, it’s not bargaining in any shape or form,” she said.
Key figures in the race to succeed Joyce could include the upcoming head of Project Sunrise, Cameron Wallace, new Jetstar CEO Stephanie Tully and Qantas CFO Vanessa Hudson.
Former Jetstar CEO and current Virgin Australia CEO Jayne Hrdlicka also remains a dark horse in the race to replace Joyce.
Alan Joyce was appointed Qantas Group chief executive in November 2008 after five years in charge of Jetstar.
It’s long been rumoured he would depart in the next 12 months after he said in February 2021 that COVID-19 would be his “last crisis” as CEO.
Qantas chairman Richard Goyder told the business’ AGM last year that Joyce would continue until “at least” the end of 2023, and a conversation on his exit wouldn’t happen until “sometime into next year”.