Qantas asks executives to work as baggage handlers to tackle labor shortages

Qantas asks executives to volunteer on the tarmac.

Senior Qantas executives are being asked to swap their top jobs to work as baggage handlers as part of a plan to tackle labor shortages.

Chief Operating Officer Colin Hughes is looking for at least 100 volunteers to work at Sydney and Melbourne airports, where staff shortages have wreaked havoc on passengers.

In a memo to officials, Hughes said the redeployments would be up to five days a week for three months.

“Individuals who meet the EOI will be trained and enrolled in the ramp environment at Sydney and Melbourne airports,” the memo reads.

Hughes added: “There is no expectation that you will take on this role in addition to your full-time position.”

Qantas confirmed the memo had been sent to senior management.

CEO Alan Joyce earns $2 million a year, plus bonuses paid in stock. He owns 669,000 shares, worth $3.7 million.

Qantas Domestic and International CEO Andrew David earned $1.4 million in base pay in fiscal year 2021.

CFO Vanessa Hudson earned a base $1.25 million, while Qantas Loyalty CEO Olivia Wirth also earned $1.25 million.

A Qantas spokesperson told “We have made it clear that our operational performance did not meet our customers’ expectations or the standards we expect of ourselves – and that we have put everything in works to improve our performance.

“As we have done in the past during peak periods, approximately 200 head office employees have been assisting at airports during peak periods since Easter.

“As we manage the impacts of a record flu season and ongoing COVID cases associated with the tightest labor market in decades, we are continuing this contingency planning across all of our airport operations for the next three months. “

At least 1,600 baggage handlers were made redundant during the lockdown as the service was outsourced to contractors, a move Australia’s federal court ruled illegal.

Qantas has promised to appeal the decision.

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