More jobs could go: Sally McManus

More jobs could go: Sally McManus

Two Qantas workers in Canberra have taken packages as a union warns even more job losses are possible at airports.

Qantas management at Canberra airport has accepted the voluntary redundancy applications of two customer services workers as part of a $2 billion cost reduction strategy.

Australian Services Union ACT secretary Sally McManus said Canberra Airport could not afford to lose any more jobs because of the existing workload placed on staff and the number of flights operating from the airport.

“Qantas is now considering whether they will cut deeper at each airport," she said. "We are waiting for their decision on this.”

The company opened voluntary redundancies to staff in early March in an effort to cut 5000 jobs nation-wide.

At the time of the announcement, Ms McManus suggested the strategy would have limited impact.

“Qantas is betting that lots of people will put in for voluntary redundancies and I think that’s a serious miscalculation given the state of the job market in Canberra,” she said.

“Canberra is particularly affected by cuts to public service jobs and people aren’t as willing to take the risk.”

Transport Workers Union spokesman Ben Sweaney said on Thursday that Qantas had limited ability to cut jobs further jobs in below-the-wing positions held by engineers and baggage staff.

“The Transport Workers Union continues to work with Qantas to avoid job losses below-the-wing at Canberra Airport,” he said.

“The union rejects the position that jobs need to be shed to get the company back into a healthy position. The only job that should go is that of Alan Joyce.”

A Qantas spokeswoman said the reduction in staff numbers was well known across the company.

“We're working through that process in all ports, including Canberra Airport,” she said.

“Our focus is looking after our people the best we can as we take the necessary steps to strengthen our business.”

Qantas management reportedly asked captains and first officers of the ageing 767 and 747 aircraft for voluntary redundancies on Tuesday.

Australian and International Pilots Association president Nathan Safe said Qantas had never offered voluntary redundancies for pilots in its 93-year history and the only instance of compulsory redundancies was more than 40 years ago.

“We are going to be pushing for a package that isn't a low-ball offer,” he said. “Ultimately we think it is cheaper to make people retire out of the top than to compulsory retire from the bottom.”

 with Jamie Freed