It’s starting to look as though that’s exactly what they did. Three weeks ago on October 27 in the midst of a bitter labor dispute, intending to show the unions just who had the bigger stick, the airline locked out employees everywhere shutting down operations and stranding thousands of passengers all over the world. Unions and employees were left – as they say in Australia – flatfooted, and the famous Qantas kangaroo, was in disgrace.
The battle between the three involved unions – pilots, engineers and ground crews – and Qantas management is a classic one these days. Qantas wanted to outsource a good part of its operation to Asia, primarily Malaysia, in an effort to lower operations costs. The unions, of course, focusing on the loss of Australian jobs (and union power), found it unacceptable, and the fight was on.
Stranding passengers in order to punish Qantas employees was the shooting-themselves-in-the-foot part. The reload and shoot again part came three weeks later. Instead of making brief contrite apologies to the passengers who had been stranded, offering them an offset and moving on in the hope that they would eventually forget, what Qantas did next was straight out of Mad Men. read more