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Australia's Biggest Airline Grounds Its Entire Fleet

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the self-imposed-no-fly-zone dept.

Australia 374

An anonymous reader writes "Australia's national airline QANTAS, famous for never having had a fatal crash, has been grounded effective immediately by its management. The grounding is in response to industrial action by union employees and has stranded passengers all over the world, with 108 planes grounded indefinitely. The Australian Government is seeking an urgent industrial relations hearing in a likely bid to suspend the industrial action and halt further damage to the Australian economy."

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374 comments

This is slashdot... (-1, Offtopic)

JustNiz (692889) | more than 2 years ago | (#37878594)

...and political strikes are tech news how?

Re:This is slashdot... (0, Troll)

couchslug (175151) | more than 2 years ago | (#37878610)

They aren't. Here's the newest site with more tech news than Slashdot:

tmz.com

Re:This is slashdot... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37878790)

Haha silly nerds. Don't you know the real site is http://www.slashdot2.org/

Re:This is slashdot... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37878852)

Don't do it--it's a Goatse.

Qantas never crashed... until now. (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#37878902)

Because Qantas jets have never crashed, as the 1988 film Rain Man points out, and the airline hasn't had a fatality in six decades.

Re:Qantas never crashed... until now. (1)

Richard_at_work (517087) | more than 2 years ago | (#37879014)

Go google for the Qantas 747 that ran off the end of a runway and had to have it's entire nose replaced by Boeing (so Qantas could continue to say the had never lost an aircraft due to a crash). That little incident cost Qantas more than a replacement aircraft would have.

Re:Qantas never crashed... until now. (1)

microbox (704317) | more than 2 years ago | (#37879198)

Oh big mishap!

Re:Qantas never crashed... until now. (1)

nedlohs (1335013) | more than 2 years ago | (#37879118)

They have crashed. After all 1988 is 23 years ago and unsurprisingly a few thing have changed in the since then.

You may also be surprised to hear that contrary to all the other 1988 (and prior) fictional films you are taking as documentaries for current times there's no Berlin Wall anymore. There has also been some other minor events you have missed out on, something on 9/11/11. A few wars. A minor economic glitch. A black President. And so on.

Re:Qantas never crashed... until now. (1)

Electricity Likes Me (1098643) | more than 2 years ago | (#37879274)

Qantas has never had a fatal jet airliner accident. Their last plane crash was in 1951, from a propeller powered plane.

Re:Qantas never crashed... until now. (1)

Cimexus (1355033) | more than 2 years ago | (#37879214)

More accurately, they have never had a fatality in the jet aircraft age. They did have a few fatal accidents in the early days and also lost some planes due to being shot down during WW2.

But yes, they have one of the best safety records and most respected (and highest paid) pilots in the (civil aviation) world.

Re:This is slashdot... (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 2 years ago | (#37879038)

If you don't want to read about it, don't click the link. Simple. It may not be "news for nerds" but it's certainly "stuff that matters". Yeah, I could discuss the subject with the idiots on Yahoo News' messageboards, but I prefer conversing with intelligent people once in a while. If I want to talk politics with 2 digit IQ folks I'll go to the tavern.

Rather than bitching about what's posted, why not go to the firehose and vote?

Sheesh.

Re:This is slashdot... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37879188)

Certain parts of the Slashdot community LOVE to bash unions and complain about how bad they are and how all its members should the shot, quartered or otherwise removed from this world. They love to rant how everything that doesn't make slaves out of people is bad for "teh Free Market" (tm). Sometimes /. just posts stories for the sake of the comments.

Are you new here? (1)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 2 years ago | (#37879326)

...and political strikes are tech news how?

Yes they are, because it gives slashdot editors and readers another chance to talk about how their favorite presidential candidate or political movement would handle this better than anyone else, anywhere, ever.

Though as others have pointed out, if you don't like it, don't read it. Nobody is forcing you to click on the link. You could submit something else to read or just not read slashdot at all.

WORKERS TO POWER! (1)

For a Free Internet (1594621) | more than 2 years ago | (#37878620)

Smash the capitalist state! Expropriate the bourgeoisie! Forward to socialism!!!!!!! READ TROTSKY!!!!

Re:WORKERS TO POWER! (1)

couchslug (175151) | more than 2 years ago | (#37878660)

Not news for nerds. Now go take an ice axe to the head like your hero.

Re:WORKERS TO POWER! (1)

stevegee58 (1179505) | more than 2 years ago | (#37878680)

I thought it was an ice pick.

Re:WORKERS TO POWER! (1)

sycodon (149926) | more than 2 years ago | (#37878794)

Someone should take an ice ax to his head. Sooner the better.

Re:WORKERS TO POWER! (1)

JustOK (667959) | more than 2 years ago | (#37878836)

ice axe to the head from orbit.

Re:WORKERS TO POWER! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37878812)

The thing is known as "ice pick" in Europe and "ice axe" in America. A mountaineer's tool, not a bartender's one.

Re:WORKERS TO POWER! (1, Offtopic)

aristotle-dude (626586) | more than 2 years ago | (#37878766)

Smash the capitalist state! Expropriate the bourgeoisie! Forward to socialism!!!!!!! READ TROTSKY!!!!

Capitalism provides you with what you wear and eat. Capitalism provides you with the internet for you to make a fool of yourself on. Capitalism is not evil, greed and corrupt is and both were rampant among the party leadership in the Soviet Union. The Soviet Union proved that state socialism does not work. If you want to redistribute your wealth, do so by your own choice. It's called "charity".

Socialism is about slavery and coercion rather than freedom and good will.

Re:WORKERS TO POWER! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37878846)

Western Europe social democracies have shown that the right amount of socialism works and works very well. And socialism is not communism, but what would an american hilly billy know about that eh ?

Re:WORKERS TO POWER! (1)

aristotle-dude (626586) | more than 2 years ago | (#37878972)

Western Europe social democracies have shown that the right amount of socialism works and works very well. And socialism is not communism, but what would an american hilly billy know about that eh ?

Wrong. Western European countries are not socialist. They practice a for of mixed market economics and even Canada and the US do not have pure capitalism. The military industrial complex is a perfect example of the US having a mixed economy. True capitalism cannot exist because it will destroy itself without some regulation . The Soviet Union was also known and USSR (Union of Socialist Soviet Republics). Every single so-called "communist" country called themselves "socialist". That is state socialism and the west were the ones that perpetuated the wrong headed label of communism.

If you want communism, go to a commune. The early church practiced communism. Communism is totally different from socialism because communism requires you to willingly surrender your worldly goods to the community which you are free to join or not join. Communism is about the welfare of the community rather that the state. It only works on a small scale like a village. Stop confusing socialism with communism and confusing a regulated capitalism with socialism.

Re:WORKERS TO POWER! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37879268)

If you want communism, go to a commune. The early church practiced communism. Communism is totally different from socialism because communism requires you to willingly surrender your worldly goods to the community which you are free to join or not join.

I'm afraid you're mixing up a few things - living in a commune and communism are only loosely related. In a communist society nobody would force you to give up your "worldly" goods as long as they are not used to exploit others.

A good readings on all these topics related to capitalism, socialism, etc ... can be found here [infoshop.org]

Re:WORKERS TO POWER! (1)

FooAtWFU (699187) | more than 2 years ago | (#37879050)

Regrettably, Western Europe social democracies have shown that the right amount of socialism is definitely less than they've been employing for the last while. It has left them with no money (a surmountable problem, though it means cutbacks), a good sense of citizen entitlement (which means everyone's upset at the cutbacks), and very labor-friendly policies (which leave employers less willing to hire, so if you're a young person looking for a job you're completely and totally screwed right now instead of just maybe-screwed like in the US: maybe-screwed is the European normal). Europe's had multiple riots about this stuff, not these piddly little mostly-peaceful "occupy" demonstrations.

Now, mind you, I like the idea of helping out your fellow man, I just don't think the policy ends up working out all that well.

Re:WORKERS TO POWER! (1)

lucm (889690) | more than 2 years ago | (#37879094)

> The Soviet Union proved that state socialism does not work. If you want to redistribute your wealth, do so by your own choice. It's called "charity".

Charity does not work because it is not sustainable. There are many other ways to redistribute your wealth, such as funding schools or medical research, which are not charity and are more likely to have a long-term positive effect.

Re:WORKERS TO POWER! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37879138)

Smash the capitalist state! Expropriate the bourgeoisie! Forward to socialism!!!!!!! READ TROTSKY!!!!

Capitalism provides you with what you wear and eat.

And it does a bad job at that [thinkquest.org]

Capitalism provides you with the internet for you to make a fool of yourself on.

I'm quite certain that the internet would also have developed without capitalism if only the technology is there.

Capitalism is not evil, greed and corrupt is and both were rampant among the party leadership in the Soviet Union. The Soviet Union proved that state socialism does not work.

Real socialist usually call the Soviet Union (and the other countries of the former east block) state capitalist, because the country was run like one big company and most people had to make a living selling themselves into wage labour. Even if you insist to call the Soviet Union state socialist that doesn't mean that a liberal socialism can not work. Greed, on the other hand thrives in capitalism.

If you want to redistribute your wealth, do so by your own choice. It's called "charity".

Charity is a nice way to calm the consciousness, but in the end it is humiliating for those at the receiving side (if they have no other way of sustaining their life - I'm not talking about the charity to help victims of natural disasters). Better it is to change the society to make it possible for everyone to live a life in dignity.

Socialism is about slavery and coercion rather than freedom and good will.

This is Capitalism, in capitalism you have to sell yourself into wage labour, in capitalism most people don't have the economic freedom to choose their life freely. And talk about good will next time someone gets fired to increase the profits of the stock holders.

"Post Tech or GTFO!" (5, Insightful)

couchslug (175151) | more than 2 years ago | (#37878636)

Those who object to non-tech stories polluting this site, speak up and don't post AC when you do it.

Enough. We have sufficient ordinary news sites and don't need that distracting bullshit here.

If it's not a relevant TECHNOLOGY or related story, post that shit somewhere else.

You don't need to post it here. We don't need it here.

"Tech or GTFO!"

Re:"Post Tech or GTFO!" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37878840)

If it's not a relevant TECHNOLOGY or related story, post that shit somewhere else.

Unless, of course, it's an irrelevant POLITICAL story; in that case, post away.

Universal news (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37878896)

There are only a handful of news stories, so consequently there are only a few tech news stories.

Disasters - Disaster wrecks hard drive factory
Sex - Teachers and pupils hookup on facebook.
Commerical gain - We're mining bitcoins!
Commerical loss - Bitcoin collapses!
Political gains - e-voting rigged
Murder - Developer goes postal.
War - Drones hacked
Political rebellion - Twitter causes revolution

Re:"Post Tech or GTFO!" (1)

NaughtyNimitz (763264) | more than 2 years ago | (#37878926)

Hear hear. I for one am not interested in some union debate down under. We've got enough of them over here in Europe.

Re:"Post Tech or GTFO!" (2)

Bookbeans2007 (2485154) | more than 2 years ago | (#37879036)

Well said! Someone buy this man a beer!

Re:"Post Tech or GTFO!" (2)

toriver (11308) | more than 2 years ago | (#37879056)

The word "technology" is curiously absent from the phrase "News for nerds. Stuff that matters."

Re:"Post Tech or GTFO!" (2)

Outlander Engine (827947) | more than 2 years ago | (#37879102)

"Tech or GTFO"

Re:"Post Tech or GTFO!" (1)

maguxs (2350904) | more than 2 years ago | (#37879120)

the strike and lock out INCLUDES engineers

Outsourcing (2)

jbwolfe (241413) | more than 2 years ago | (#37878654)

Outsourcing- plain and simple. This strategy is in use here in the US but so far has not succeeded. Everyone spits on labor, but this is what labor can do best for its constituency- protect companies from sending work to the cheapest bidder. Can anyone say that they want budget pilots? How about another Colgan Air in Buffalo. This is where paying for experience pays off, but management focuses on cost and fails to account for the value of quality.

No advanced warning? (1)

sgt scrub (869860) | more than 2 years ago | (#37878664)

I think the desire to make this announcement "This is in response to the damaging industrial action by three unions" was more important than keeping their customers informed and their employees happy. If someone is stranded it is because Qantas is playing politics with its customers and screwing its employees.

Re:No advanced warning? (4, Insightful)

Sponge Bath (413667) | more than 2 years ago | (#37878834)

...Qantas is playing politics with its customers and screwing its employees.

Quantas is trying to screw the employees. The unions are trying to screw Quantas. The results screw the customers. If the customers are smart, they will vote with their wallets to screw Quantas and the unions.

That is called a cluster fuck.

Re:No advanced warning? (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 2 years ago | (#37878968)

I had to google to find out what "Industrial action" is. The links in TFS are incredibly vague -- what "damaging industrial action" did they ground the fleet for? According to wikipedia it could be
        Strike
        Occupation of factories
        Work-to-rule
        General strike
        Slowdown (or Go-slow)
        Overtime ban
So which one(s) was it? It looks like union busting to me.

Re:No advanced warning? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37879112)

Me too, when I saw "damaging industrial action", I thought for second someone was sabotaging the planes.

Re:No advanced warning? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37879388)

According to this article
http://www.news.com.au/breaking-news/joyce-holding-knife-to-nations-throat/story-e6frfku0-1226180382319

"AIPA's industrial action has been limited to making brief, positive in-flight announcements and wearing red ties,"

Nothing damaging...

There's no good guys here (2, Informative)

drsmithy (35869) | more than 2 years ago | (#37878676)

On the one hand, current (and immediately previous) QANTAS management has been woeful, and are now merely reaping what they have sown.

One the other, the employees in question are already on a pretty sweet deal, and asking for more is just raw greed.

Re:There's no good guys here (5, Insightful)

HalfFlat (121672) | more than 2 years ago | (#37878856)

So, don't the other domestic Australian airlines employ people belonging to these unions? Meanwhile Qantas doubles its profits, spends 10 million dollars on a re-branding exercise, and gives a 1.5 million dollar raise to its CEO. Now this current suspension is estimated to be costing them $20 million per day.

If I had to choose a side based on the available evidence, it would not be Qantas' management.

Re:There's no good guys here (0)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 2 years ago | (#37879048)

Where are the moderators? Your comment should be +5.

Re:There's no good guys here (1)

toriver (11308) | more than 2 years ago | (#37879074)

Don't you know the CEO is very important? The reason planes fly is that airline CEOs do magical rituals in their offices. No rituals == no flying. That is why CEOs are paid more than the people we think are necessary to the airplane's operation.

Re:There's no good guys here (5, Informative)

Cimexus (1355033) | more than 2 years ago | (#37879378)

Qantas employees generally already have higher pay and better conditions than equivalent positions at other domestic carriers (Virgin, Jetstar, Tiger) - and FAR more than carriers in almost any foreign country that you could name. Also, Alan Joyce, though just given a $1.5M raise, voluntarily took a $7M/year pay cut previously. So he's just regaining some of what he previously lost (not that that justifies anything, just pointing it out).

AJ is a bit of a dick, but Qantas really is between a rock and a hard place. Or more accurately, Qantas International (the domestic arm is doing fine). QF international is losing money hand over fist through no real fault of their own. The problems are:

1. Geography: Australia is a terminus when it comes to air travel. You don't travel 'through' Australia to get to anywhere else. So you don't have the advantages of being based in a hub, like places in the Middle East or Asia, which can attract substantial traffic from within their catchment area and ALSO a lot of transit traffic (people just passing through in transit to other locations). Australia is the 'end of the road' so to speak, which makes their potential market much smaller.

2. Australia has an open skies policy these days, which has allowed the likes of Singapore Airlines, Qatar, Emirates, Malaysian Airlines, Cathay Pacific, Etihad to operate Australian services. These are airlines that already have the inherent advantages of being based in hub locations (thus are not as reliant on origin-and-departure traffic as Qantas is). They are also airlines that, due to being based in locations with much lower wages than Australia, have costs in the order of HALF what Qantas has, to operate the same flights. Qantas tickets are therefore more expensive. And as a result, noone buys them - Qantas now has only 20% market share for international flights to/from Australia (and falling).

So, QF international is losing money. Their successful domestic arm has been subsidising it, but that can only continue for so long. So what's the solution? They can either start basing at least some of their core maintenance and piloting operations from a hub somewhere in Asia (Singapore, HK etc.) ... or go out of business. This is what Alan Joyce announced earlier this year as a plan to save QF International - moving some operations offshore and creating a new premium airline in Asia. The unions oppose it - they obviously don't want jobs to be lost within Australia, nor do they want their members to miss out on pay or entitlements. Fair enough, from their perspective.

But what would you have Qantas do? They have no choice - if QF International is to survive at all, they MUST significantly reduce their cost base. That would be impossible to do while keeping all existing jobs in Australia. And even more impossible to do if the unions force them to pay even more. They are competing against foreign carriers whose costs are half as much, remember. What a sad thing it would be if Qantas - the second oldest continuously operating international airline in the world - was forced to close its doors.

There really are two sides to this story - the vilification in the media of Qantas as being greedy, un-Australian etc etc. is to some extent unjustified, as they are really running out of options, and noone can force them to keep operating their international arm at a loss.

Interesting (3, Insightful)

DaMattster (977781) | more than 2 years ago | (#37878684)

I would wager that the protests beginning with Arab Spring have emboldened the 99%ers world-wide to take action against class oppression and start class warfare. Since Occupy Wall Street has gained steam, people are feeling bolder about speaking out and taking non-violent action to make their demands heard. If this means bringing the 1% to its economic knees, so be it. I am a member of the 99% and I have had it with the 1% not only telling me how to live my life economically but with their power to pass ridiculous criminal/civil laws to ensure that they stay in power. I support the 99%ers everywhere.

Re:Interesting (2)

inflex (123318) | more than 2 years ago | (#37878716)

Except in this case, it's the actions of a 1%'er bringing the 99% to its knees.

The "boss" (Alan Joyce) just had his pay upped to $5m/yr yesterday... now he's grounded the fleet. Either a genius or a mad-man, maybe both.

Re:Interesting (1)

Richard_at_work (517087) | more than 2 years ago | (#37878844)

Joyce had his pay upped as per his contract, the labour groups want non-contracted increases. And it would cost hundreds of millions of dollars to fulfil those demands per year.

Re:Interesting (1)

HalfFlat (121672) | more than 2 years ago | (#37878900)

'Hundreds of millions'? Qantas has 33000 or so employees. Even a $5000 p.a. increase in salary to every employee wouldn't make it to the hundreds of millions. On the other hand, Qantas did just double its yearly net profits, to a total of $250 million.

Re:Interesting (1)

Toonol (1057698) | more than 2 years ago | (#37879142)

A $5,000 increase in salary to every employee would suck up the funds needs to hire 3,300 more employees at $50,000 salaries. Which would be better to have?

Re:Interesting (1)

jbwolfe (241413) | more than 2 years ago | (#37878920)

You are right sir! Regrettably, however, it will be spun otherwise by politicians and right wing media. This all began with Joyce accusing the pilots of being too expensive for the company to succeed. Ozzie courts sided with business. I tire of hearing "it has to be fair" when management speaks of pay and benefits for employees- what's fair about their compensation! Why do they get to decide their own pay and accuse labor of greed. Who do they answer to- themselves and directors (not on 99% side) and institutional investors (not on 99% side). It's stacked against us and that's what everyone is protesting about. ...rant, rant, rant... I know...

Re:Interesting (-1)

sycodon (149926) | more than 2 years ago | (#37878932)

Holy Hell. If I were in the same room with you I'd slap you upside the head.

Quit whining and become the 1% yourself. It only requires an income of $350,000. Yeah you read right. $350k is approximately where the 1% income begins. Most small business owners with 20 or so employees have a good chance of being part of the 1%. Two moderately successful workers in New York City can be part of the 1%. Shit, the parents of many of the protestors are part of the 1%.

One thing we don't need are laws that would prevent people from becoming part of the 1%.

Re:Interesting (1)

Arlet (29997) | more than 2 years ago | (#37878988)

Two moderately successful workers in New York City can be part of the 1%.

Sure, as long as 198 other workers are the 99%.

Re:Interesting (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37879104)

Two moderately successful workers in New York City can be part of the 1%.

Sure, as long as 198 other workers are the 99%.

Well of course. We've all been reliably informed that anyone can become part of the 1% if they're hard-working and show some initiative.

Strange, though. It would seem to imply that even most Republicans are shiftless lazy bastards, considering their demographics.

Re:Interesting (1)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 2 years ago | (#37879152)

Holy Hell. If I were in the same room with you I'd slap you upside the head.

So you're unstable enough that you're willing to assault people you don't agree with? Cute.

Quit whining and become the 1% yourself.

What you're suggesting is mathematically impossible for anymore than 1% of the population. The problem is, when the cost of health care is factored out, wages for nearly everyone else is flat. The US is about 60th in the world in upward mobility.

Also, the Washing Post says entry into the 1% is about $520,000:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/ezra-klein/post/who-are-the-1-percenters/2011/10/06/gIQAn4JDQL_blog.html [washingtonpost.com]

And the corporate system is working to the point where pensions are taken away from everyone but executives, and those executives had pay increases of 300% over the previous decades, when everyone else is flat.

It may be an aside, but the trope found elsewhere that the non-1%ers are lazy just doesn't ring true, I think it's more like something people say to comfort themselves without having to think about it. I've known a lot of hard-working, smart people that have had significant struggles finding employment or their businesses struggle hard. I've done pretty well, but I think that's luck because these other people aren't less hard-working, nor are they dumb people. In fact, I've known a few people that had their businesses yanked out of under them because the bank wanted their money back before term. These weren't delinquent businesses either, they kept up with payments and didn't complain. They couldn't find other financing in time to save the business, so the business was liquidated.

Re:Interesting (1)

Toonol (1057698) | more than 2 years ago | (#37879172)

Yeah. I live in a moderately small town of 50,000. There's 500 1%'ers right here. Pretty meaningless. Redheads form a more exclusive club.

Re:Interesting (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37878938)

I thought the 99%ers were upset about the 1% of us who are physically attractive.

Re:Interesting (0)

ScentCone (795499) | more than 2 years ago | (#37879068)

You keep saying "99%," but I don't think you're actually able to do math. Which may explain much of your perspective, actually.

Regardless, why aren't you complaining about the wildly more than 1% of the population that actually owns the large companies about which you're complaining? Why aren't you complaining about your 100% of fellow voters who are the sole source of political power in countries that actually have constitutionally governed elections?

The Arab Spring you're praising appears to be a pretty grim affair indeed. Places like Tunisia are using the changed circumstances to put medieval-minded Islamists into power. The people now running Lybia are assuring us all that Sharia Law will govern everyone's lives in that country. Yay! Is that the 99% you support everywhere? Really? Do you even know what it is you're praising?

I was particularly amused to read about the "occupy" people in NYC whose cooks/chefs are going on strike (and only served a course of peanut butter sandwiches for one meal) to protest against the crowd of people there eating their food without being sufficiently in lock-step with their undefineable agenda. Down With The Man! The Little Guy Should Have Everything! Um, Except For You, Mister, No Food For You Until You Say What We Tell You To Say!

Your 99% is every bit as stratified internally as is the larger world that they're whining about. They're enforcing "no snitch" rules in their mobs and frantically spin-managing reporters in order to pretend it's not so, but the moral hollowness of their whole rudderless rant is staring to really show through, now that most of the well-meaning, rational people have realized what silliness it all is, and have gone home.

Arab protests didn't "embolden" airline workers. Transportation industry workers are famous for striking, do it all the time, and are frequently tone-deaf, even after all these years, about how their actions are received. This isn't any more "new" than are unfocused groups of professional/slacker protesters banging drums in the street and complaining about the inadequacy of the Nanny State. It's the usual group of people, saying the usual internally-contradictory and short-sighted things, with the usual expected result of making people who actually create the jobs these idiots are "demanding" roll their eyes and shake their heads. As most people are doing.

Re:Interesting (0)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 2 years ago | (#37879106)

Start class warfare??? The 1% have been waging a silent war against the 99% for decades. [nzherald.co.nz]

After-tax income for the top 1 per cent of US households almost tripled, up 275 per cent, from 1979 to 2007, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office found. For people in the middle of the economic scale, after-tax income grew by just 40 per cent. Those at the bottom experienced an 18 per cent increase.

Re:Interesting (1)

ScentCone (795499) | more than 2 years ago | (#37879372)

So what you're saying is that the middle class is "waging war" against poor people? That poor people remain poor because the middle class is taking their money?

Re:Interesting (1)

Toonol (1057698) | more than 2 years ago | (#37879128)

Unions, recently, are working to increase the benefits of a smaller group of employees, which means a higher unemployment rate for the remainder. What we need is the opposite. The compensation level of full-time employees is not a large problem, but unemployment is. Right now, the economy needs a little more union-busting and low-paying entry-level jobs.

Fire them all...fire them (2)

bogaboga (793279) | more than 2 years ago | (#37878720)

The folks at Qantas or the government should employ Reagan solution: Fire all those striking employees, then immediately advertise their positions at even lower compensation.

With the strike having the potential of affecting the Australian economy, decisive intervention is necessary. I am quite sure these positions once advertised, will get serious responses, even though the unemployment rate of Australia is at about 5%.

Re:Fire them all...fire them (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37878784)

Fire all those striking employees, then immediately advertise their positions at even lower compensation.

Interesting idea except for the slight problem of being completely illegal in Australia.

Of course, it doesn't stop Qantas from simply declaring their entire Australian workforce redundant and moving most of their operations overseas. (which many argue has been the management's game plan from the beginning)

Re:Fire them all...fire them (1)

inflex (123318) | more than 2 years ago | (#37878862)

It is their game plane, because it means bigger profits through lower expenses. As a traded corp that's what they have to do. Of course, I think the move was still a little over the top.

Re:Fire them all...fire them (1)

Toonol (1057698) | more than 2 years ago | (#37879178)

Interesting idea except for the slight problem of being completely illegal in Australia.

What an immoral law.

Re:Fire them all...fire them (1, Insightful)

jbwolfe (241413) | more than 2 years ago | (#37879020)

Oh, I see. You want to scab. Go right ahead and do it. Let's all race to the bottom. You will soon have no middle class to support your egalitarian view of society with that point of view- good luck with that. I suppose you think America is doing great with the concentration of wealth at the top and the evolving plutocracy. Ever hear of the French Revolution? Some similarities in our current economic situation. Government is bought and paid for and the country is run by plutocrats. It's your country too, American or Australian, so be careful what you ask for. Twenty years down this current road and these western nations will be the shits and you and I will be offered penny jobs to clean it up.

Re:Fire them all...fire them (1)

vadim_t (324782) | more than 2 years ago | (#37879248)

I propose an alternative:

Fire the management, and advertise their new positions at 5% of their current wage.

After all, it's the employees who do the actual work. Most of the people on the top probably can't even competently sweep the floors, let alone fly an airplane.

Re:Fire them all...fire them (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37879272)

How dare these fucking worthless employees have rights! They aren't even real people! Only big corporations are! They're non-corporate humans!

If you're not a corporation or earn less than 400k€/y, you shouldn't even be allowed to speak up! Filthy peasants! Whip them! Whip them harder!

Suspend the industrial action? (1)

stevegee58 (1179505) | more than 2 years ago | (#37878722)

Quantas is a private company. Why can't they do what they want with what's theirs?

Re:Suspend the industrial action? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37878808)

The political correctness is affecting comprehension.

"Industrial action" = strike by Qantas employees

Re:Suspend the industrial action? (2)

toriver (11308) | more than 2 years ago | (#37879144)

1) A "private company" only exists as a fiat of Government: Without laws defining the rights and responsibilities of companies, the term would be meaningless.
2) Planes do not fly themselves. So they own the planes, but you do not "own" people. They are doing what they want with "theirs" by grounding the planes.
3) The third thing they have is a responsibility to their customers. And that is what is being broken hardest here.

Doesn't seem too bad .... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37878734)

Domestic customers

If you are away from home and between flights today, Qantas will arrange accommodation, meals and transfers for you.

If you are away from home and beginning your journey today, unfortunately you will need to source your own accommodation we will reimburse you for reasonable out of pocket expenses including accommodation, transfers, meals and incidentals up to a total value of AUD 350 per person per day. A limit of AUD 250 per night for accommodation and AUD 100 for incidentals (meals and phone calls) per person per day applies.

International customers

Qantas will arrange accommodation, meals and transfers for you.

Re:Doesn't seem too bad .... (1)

drsmithy (35869) | more than 2 years ago | (#37879016)

This is a standard behaviour for any delays and disruptions to QANTAS operations, regardless of whether it's industrial action or a broken down plane.

Re:Doesn't seem too bad .... (1)

Bert64 (520050) | more than 2 years ago | (#37879200)

Standard for pretty much any airline, and at least in Europe its a legal requirement tho not sure about other places...

fuck QANTAS (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37878748)

I know there'll be a bunch of idiots here saying how the unions are terrible, blah blah. QANTAS grounded the fleet when there were planes on the ground ready to take off. They left people stranded in airports in transit (e.g. Singapore, which is on many of the Europe to Australia routes).

QANTAS management really fucked up.

Yes the unions are fighting a racist fight (they object to outsourcing because "Asians!"), but that doesn't excuse QANTAS's actions.

Unions, a collection of workers fighting for a better deal. Why is that a bad thing but corporations screwing workers over isn't? Unions are merely a collection of individuals, so all you fucktards who hate them, but don't hate corporations are just stupid.

Re:fuck QANTAS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37878930)

all you fucktards who hate them, but don't hate corporations are just stupid

Who said we don't hate both? They're both big organizations that pull the strings on our politicians. What's not to hate? You don't have to be a fascist and/or a robber barron to hate the unions either. I personally think that a better solution would be an expansion of the minimum wage to include job classification, collection of MSA cost-of-living data, and setting of minimum wages based on said data. There. You just replaced the unions and maintained a potentially very progressive stand.

Re:fuck QANTAS (1)

Toonol (1057698) | more than 2 years ago | (#37879194)

Unions, a collection of workers fighting for a better deal. Why is that a bad thing but corporations screwing workers over isn't?

Both are bad. Unions as a group of employees deciding to cooperatively strike is not a problem. Unions as mandatory guilds with special legal privileges are a huge problem, distorting the market and increasing unemployment.

Businesses do bad things too. They seek special legal protections, too. Both are wrong.

Not relevant here (3, Insightful)

OzPeter (195038) | more than 2 years ago | (#37878762)

I'm an aussie and even I don't think this story deserves to be here. Combined with the prominent slashtervizing and other poor quality stories this place is slowly becoming a news ghetto (and apologies to all who live in ghettos)

unions are... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37878806)

scum... filthy vermin who prey on the weak, use extortion for graft and payoffs, and cause misery in all industries..

...no different from employers (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#37878934)

unions are... scum... filthy vermin who prey on the weak

Let me guess: They're little better or worse than the monopsonistic employers [wikipedia.org] that cause people to start unions in the first place.

Re:...no different from employers (1)

Toonol (1057698) | more than 2 years ago | (#37879250)

Depends on the union, and depends on the employer. There are valid places and times for unions. Bringing more benefits to employees that are already well-paid with significantly above average benefits is really not one of them.

This isn't 'Grapes of Wrath'. These aren't workers enslaved to the company store, living in company barracks, fighting for basic human rights. They're well-off workers trying to push their benefits further above the market rate.

Re:unions are... (1)

jbwolfe (241413) | more than 2 years ago | (#37879136)

It is so tragically unfortunate that this point of view continues. (Granted from an AC). Unions have flaws but their contributions throughout history far outweigh the graft and corruption. A little history lesson is in order. Spend a few minutes goggling for labor's positive contributions before spouting elitist crap.

FYI:US Labor law... (2)

jbwolfe (241413) | more than 2 years ago | (#37878824)

...prevents this type of wildcat strike. Airlines are governed under the RLA (Railway Labor Act) which makes wildcatting illegal. The parties must negotiate in good faith before being released to self-help. This is why consumers (travelers) get a 30 day heads-up before a shutdown, and why contract negotiations take 4 to 5 years. It's also why airlines will drag out the process doing only just enough to please the NLRB, resulting in lengthy and drawn out process. Management plays games too.

Re:FYI:US Labor law... (1)

LordNacho (1909280) | more than 2 years ago | (#37878912)

Well come on now, it's a negotiation. Like trading a house or a car, one guy wants a high price, the other wants a low price. People play the games they can (oh, there's a scratch, you'll save money bc the insulation is better, etc).

Re:FYI:US Labor law... (2)

drsmithy (35869) | more than 2 years ago | (#37878918)

...prevents this type of wildcat strike. Airlines are governed under the RLA (Railway Labor Act) which makes wildcatting illegal. The parties must negotiate in good faith before being released to self-help.

Just a point that "negotiations" on this issue have been ongoing for a year, if not longer, and there have been several previous strikes (all with the appropriate notice periods).

This is an apparently spontaneous action by QANTAS _management_. The Unions have been quite responsible about their actions.

Re:FYI:US Labor law... (1)

Nidi62 (1525137) | more than 2 years ago | (#37879006)

Management plays games too.

Not as bad as the games the unions try to play in the airline industry. Forcing their way into people's houses, blocking them into their driveways. Claiming "interference" when the airline publicizes the vote date to their employees after the union gets the rules changed to favor them.

Not a Slashdot Story (1)

gordguide (307383) | more than 2 years ago | (#37878880)

" ... Mistakes are often the stepping stones to utter failure. ..."

That was the Slashdot 'Quote of the day' displayed when I read this topic (and set out to grumble, which is what this comment is).

I actually don't really agree with the sentiment expressed ... mistakes are key to learning, and often lead us where our tunnel vision won't let us go. But you can't argue that all mistakes have some saintly outcome; some are just warnings that you should stop now and abandon your course. Maybe the random /. quote generator isn't so random.

On that note ...

Re:Not a Slashdot Story (1)

gordguide (307383) | more than 2 years ago | (#37878922)

WTF; rest of my post disappeared.

Should Read:

On That Note ...

An airline was shut down by executive order over a labour (as they spell it in Australia) dispute.

This is not a Slashdot Story. Stop approving these or "utter failure" looms ominously.

wtf? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37878890)

How is this tech news? /delete

Re:wtf? (1)

toriver (11308) | more than 2 years ago | (#37879192)

It's not. Does it need to be?

How it should be (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37878960)

The directors of the company are working for the shareholders. Just to be clear, the shareholders have invested in Qantas to see a return on their money. If moving jobs to Asia increases profits and that is what the share holders are after then let it happen.

Just because there are some lazy workers in the unions that think that they can keep getting more money for what can be done cheaper overseas, doesn't mean that they should. If your job is under threat, get educated and trained! Demanding more money because you've been doing the same job for 20+ years doesn't fly. This is a decisive action that will set the airline on the path to make money free of the union boys clubs.

Ship the jobs overseas and be free of the silly labour laws in Oz. If you were running a business that was being extorted what would you do? I think Joyce had to break the downward spiral and he did. Good work and well deserving of the pay rise.

If this offends people, then talk to the shareholders about their greed and unethical investment strategy. Oh, that's right, it's capitalism, thanks for that US.

Re:How it should be (3, Interesting)

cyber-vandal (148830) | more than 2 years ago | (#37879040)

I hope it happens to you and then you'll see exactly how easy and cheap it is to completely change your career path.

Re:How it should be (1)

toriver (11308) | more than 2 years ago | (#37879258)

Does that also include the top-paid jobs? After all, you can easily save a lot by replacing the million-dollar-salary receiving non-pilot with some beggar from Bangladesh, it's not like he's needed to transport passengers...

I am sure Australians will flock to an airline just pretending to be Australian. If they want to see the consequences of running airlines too cheaply, look to Africa.

Who cares if this isn't tech news? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37878984)

I don't come to /. for the news, I come for the comments, the best of which are typically well-expressed, insightful, and more helpful than TFA quite often.

I'm not saying I mind if just whatever is posted, but this is one of the few news sites I can visit and participate in interesting and enlightening discourse... so I honestly don't care.

Re:Who cares if this isn't tech news? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37879018)

Sorry but even as someone who works in the Australian Aviation industry, who knows the details of what's going on and finds this news interesting, I still don't come to Slashdot for news like this. Whoever does is the reason we see this pollution on Slashdot, Slashdot shouldn't aim to be Digg.

News for Nerds; Stuff that Matters. Not. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37879028)

Noticed that tag line is gone. Why? Because now it's just slashvertisments and random crap from the shitty editors. Goodbye Slashdot. I miss you.

Strange term for a strike (2)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 2 years ago | (#37879286)

The summary is calling it "Industrial action by union employees". Most news outlets are just calling it a "strike". The needlessly long and obtuse description used here on the front page could be read to mean intentional equipment sabotage instead...

Fatal JET crash (1)

Registered Coward v2 (447531) | more than 2 years ago | (#37879412)

QANTAS has at least 12 fatal no-jet a/c accidents.
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