We have heard a lot lately about how Qantas Australia found the need to ground the entire fleet based on their reasoning that the union pressure would be sufficient to cripple the organisation. The media and the government has treated this as a corporation v's unions dispute when in actual fact it is a corporation v's fair-wages and conditions dispute. How can an organisation that pays it's CEO around $5M/year while not negotiating fair wages and conditions for it's staff be supported by the government's heavy handed intervention on the side of the organisation. Even if Qantas does get away with this corporate bullying approach it can only be short-lived. You cannot expect dissgruntled staff to carry out their duties happily and in a safe manner if they are constantly worried about their children's wellbeing and financial difficulty. There has to be a more equitable approach to solve this problem. I am by no means a supporter of union activity if it only serves to line the pockets of the union but as far as I can see, Qantas has for a long time now been more interested in profits to satisfy management and share-holders interests than it's life blood, it's staff and potential passengers. I believe that Julia Gillard should stop just looking at this situation as a "threat to Australias national economy" and put more emphasis on the reality of unfair pay and conditions for Australian workers. She is using the rhetoric that it is "dignified to have a job"-does that mean it is undignified to be unemployed? The reality is that probably around 10-12% of the Australian potential workforce is either unemployed or underemployed. Are they all lacking in dignity in the eyes of the government?
I welcome your thoughts on this subject.