Bringing a new meaning to the phrase “egg on your face”, Qantas CEO Alan Joyce’s Sydney home was egged and strewn with toilet paper on Monday night as the daily traveller chaos continues for the national airline.
Joyce paid $19 million for the Mosman mansion — which has six bedrooms and ocean views — and has been spotted living in the affluent spot since May this year, though neighbours said they did not see the culprits.
While police say there are no leads yet on whether the vandalism was targeted, there’s currently no shortage of unhappy customers, workers and former workers during what could be the most turbulent time in Qantas’s history.
Last week, more than half of all passengers flying Qantas and Virgin Australia were dealt either flight cancellations or flight delays, with more than one in 20 Qantas domestic flights binned altogether amid staff shortages.
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Still, it could’ve been worse. Virgin had double the cancellations of the competitor airline at 14.7%.
And if travellers managed to board a flight, there was no guarantee their luggage did too.
An outsourced baggage handler had claimed one in 10 bags were not making flights at Sydney domestic terminal.
The worker, who remained anonymous, told The Guardian Australia that of the 100 trolleys handled each day at the Sydney domestic airport, “these days there are about 10 [trolleys] each day that just don’t make it on”, where each trolley carries 30 to 40 items of luggage.
But Qantas disputed this, calling the one in 10 figure “wrong”.
“The rate of mishandled baggage across the Qantas network over the past four weeks is less than 1% and our teams are working hard to get this figure down further,” a spokesperson said.
Either way, the airline’s baggage handlers are in short supply following a 2020 decision to outsource 1700 of the roles to third parties.
One of the companies Qantas has engaged to provide baggage handling, Swissport, is going as far as incentivising staff $50 a day to turn up to their shifts at Sydney airport for the rest of the year.
It comes as Qantas engineers will vote on industrial action this week after enterprise bargaining talks broke down between the airline group and trade union the Australian Licensed Aircraft Engineers Association (ALAEA).
Workers are asking for a 12% pay increase which they say would reflect a 3% pay rise per annum since 2018, the lower end of the Reserve Bank’s expected wage outcome.
Earlier in the year, Qantas promised workers a one-off boost payment of $5000 and the promise of 1000 shares currently worth $4500 in August 2023, but the union called that a bribe.
The bonus was dependent upon staff signing an enterprise agreement that only gave them a 2% pay increase — and only after a two-year wage freeze.
Joyce was remunerated to the tune of $1.98 million in 2020-21, according to the airline’s annual report, a bitter pill for many former and current staff to swallow amid mass layoffs and the salary negotiations.
It was up $250,000 from 2020, though significantly down from Joyce’s $10 million salary in 2019.
One SmartCompany reader claimed she spent 22 hours on hold in an effort to retrieve an $822 voucher.
“Bet I never see it. Robbery. Daylight robbery. SACK JOYCE,” she wrote.
But it seems the besieged CEO is staying put, at least for now.