Some Qantas call centre workers who will lose their jobs in Brisbane first heard the news through the media, a union says.
Qantas’ Brisbane call centre, which employs around 200 full-time equivalent employees will be closed by 2016, while its Melbourne operation, which employs approximately 250 full time equivalent employees, would close by mid-2015.
Australian Services Union’s Queensland secretary Julie Bignell said Brisbane staff were given 10 minutes to prepare for a meeting, but some had already heard the news after it had been leaked to the media.
“By then the union office was already receiving text messages and phone calls from our members in the call centres saying `what’s going on?’,” she told reporters on Wednesday.
“That’s just an appalling lack of consideration for your loyal employees to have to run around and ask other people whether they’ve got a job or not.”
Employees in the Brisbane and Melbourne call centres will be offered re-deployment to Hobart, where the airline will base its call centre operations in a single facility by 2016.
Ms Bignell said while the Tasmanian government was offering incentives for Qantas to move its operations to the state, Queensland Premier Campbell Newman had been ignoring repeated requests to meet with the union.
Mr Newman said Qantas, which has moved heavy maintenance and catering to Brisbane in the last year, needed to make its own business decisions.
“They have to arrange activities as they see fit,” the premier said.
“I certainly expect that Qantas will look after the families affected.”
But Shadow Treasurer Curtis Pitt told AAP the premier was standing by to watch more and more companies shed jobs.
“The premier needs to work with industry to help affected workers and drive down Queensland’s 6.3 per cent unemployment rate, levels not seen since the GFC.”
The ASU will meet with Qantas on Thursday to fight for the jobs, but believes more will be heading offshore.
Qantas previously announced a $2 billion transformation program, which will eventually see it shed 5000 jobs.
The airline later rejected claims from the ASU that the announcement of the cuts was leaked by the carrier to media before staff were briefed.
A spokesman for Qantas told AAP that employees were called in for an announcement at the call centre sites before the announcement being made to media.