Qantas CEO Earns 590 Times More Than His Staff, So Before You Get Cranky With the Jetstar Baggage Handlers…

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Let the baggage handlers eat cake… but definitely don’t let them eat the airline meals, because we need them to be fit and healthy enough to shift our bags. Chris Graham reports.

Last year, the CEO of Jetstar, Gareth Evans, earned, $3.7 million. Or about $2,028 dollars in a single hour.

To earn that sort of money, Evans’ baggage handlers would need to work for two and a half weeks. But wait, there’s more.

Jetstar is part of the Qantas group, whose CEO Alan Joyce earned $23,876,351 last year. Or just over $13,000 dollars per hour (which, as an aside is more than someone on Centrelink receives in an entire year).

For Joyce’s baggage handlers to earn the same amount Joyce earns in a single hour, they would have to work for almost four months.

And here’s the rub: Joyce can’t earn $23,876,351 a year (and Qantas can’t make a $1.6 billion profit), without the help of those baggage handlers, as evidenced by the Jetstar strike this morning, which has brought the airline to a halt.

Over the to the Transport Workers’ Union secretary Michael Kaine, to explain a bit more.

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“Jetstar have rejected the pay claims of baggage and ramp workers, who are the lowest paid workers in the Qantas Group. They also rejected claims for 30 hours guaranteed a week, more rest breaks, 12 hours between shifts, more consultation with workers and commitment on the engagement of untrained casual staff.

“We have appealed to Jetstar to come to its senses and accept our modest claims. We asked them to consider the pain these workers accepted when they took an 18-month wage freeze two years ago.

“We requested an end to the stand-over, bullying tactics aimed at forcing workers to accept poverty wages. All we have received is a response from Jetstar that they won’t negotiate beyond their wages policy.

“We don’t agree with this wage policy and ironically enough we don’t think that the Jetstar CEO on $3.7 million or the Qantas CEO who earned $24 million agrees with it either, given their salary packages.

“Our claims are modest and they address safety and pay concerns. Workers must be able to support their families and we don’t think that 90 cents extra an hour per worker is too much to ask for.”

Chris Graham

Chris Graham is the publisher and editor of New Matilda. He is the former founding managing editor of the National Indigenous Times and Tracker magazine. Chris has won a Walkley Award, a Walkley High Commendation and two Human Rights Awards for his reporting. He lives in Brisbane and splits his time between Stradbroke Island, where New Matilda is based, and the mainland.

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