Qantas shake-up will mean 1,800 job losses

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The Independent Online
SYDNEY (Reuter) - Qantas, Australia's international flag carrier, faces a shake-up ahead of its privatisation after an efficiency review recommended 1,835 job cuts and other savings.

'The simple truth is that we must continue to improve our productivity by 5 per cent per year,' John Ward, the airline's chief executive, said.

In December British Airways won the right to buy 25 per cent of the government-owned airline for Adollars 665m ( pounds 235m). The rest, to be sold in Australia's biggest stock float, is valued by industry analysts at Adollars 1.9bn.

The review of the airline began in October after Qantas's acquisition of the state-owned domestic carrier Australian Airlines.

A 900-page report identified savings of Adollars 158m over the next two years, with three-fifths of the cuts occurring before June. Shedding staff would save Adollars 95m while the rest would come from non- labour cuts.

Management numbers would be slashed by 30 per cent and the general workforce by 7 per cent. No action would be taken until labour unions had studied the report.

Qantas and Australian Airlines combined employ about 27,000 but only 21,000 jobs were under review. Redundancy packages will be offered but if too few workers volunteer, forced redundancies will begin in March.

Qantas and Australian have already slashed some 5,000 jobs in the year to June 1992.

Most of the cuts proposed would take place by the end of 1994 and attract a one-off implementation cost of Adollars 65m but reap net annualised savings of Adollars 70m.