…from the quill of Antisthenes
Being in the middle is not my usual or favourite position, but I have little sympathy either for the Qantas striking employees or for its incompetent managers. The so called executives are solely interested in their bonuses, perquisites and the prospects of more lucrative career elsewhere. Whether it is airlines, potatoes, hedge funds, it is all the same to them. They pride themselves on having no feel for specific realities of any particular undertaking and subject them all to the same irrational MBA approach i.e. that at the end, the hoi polloi either directly or through its elected representatives will provide. If not, they move themselves with the golden parachute sacks swollen and intact, to another corporation and subject it to the next currently-fashionable-management-guru’s infallible treatment. Australian passengers of no consequence soon will be just a faint, mildly amusing memory.
How I wish they had ever tried to travel on their airline incognito, in a cattle section, not in the first class where stewardesses or stewards attend to them a head to toe and to anything in between. Among many frightening things they would see, as I and many others had seen, for example, the way the baggage handlers deal with the luggage in plain sight of passengers*. One shudders to think what they do to it out of sight. Of course, the management would say that the ground personnel has full immunity against any disciplinary action by virtue of union membership. That is a pitiful excuse. They had time during all those long Howard years and did nothing, as long as those bonuses kept coming, ignoring the more and more disenchanted passengers, who were voting with their bottoms. Why should they worry their little empty heads with any Industrial Relations Reform? Perhaps the managers are hoping the Chinese or Arabs will pay them more, and that operating outside Australia would mean even better opportunities for extra-official remuneration, thought I would point out that neither Arabs nor Chinese are stupid.
Trade union bosses also may be hoping that the Chinese will pay them more, invite them to more banquets and all expenses paid tours of mainland and perhaps give them additional bonus for destroying our air transport just as they managed to destroy our sea transport. Their insidious industrial action had nothing whatsoever to do with job security of their members. Only a trade union official used to extorting money from unionists and from the government could possibly believe a company can keep on loosing $15 million a week indefinitely. Naturally, the Government of former trade union officials, rock singers and such like, whose economic experience is solely comprised of perusing the pictures in Obama-e-comics, also does not know any better. And finally, in destruction of our economy and enhancing that of our competitors the No Work Australia Acts provide invaluable assistance.
Local companies Ansett Airline, Arnott biscuits etc bit the dust, and with Q, we are coming close to the end of the alphabet. Qantas**, formerly an Australian company which any Australian could be proud of, is today rotten to the core. It is seeped in that malign mentality Northcote Parkinson wrote about. I am sorry for that remaining handful of honest employees, but they brought it upon themselves by letting union bosses to manipulate them; or, I dare to mention, by voting in the current government (though I admit that even LibNats have been useless wonders).
So do not now shed your crocodile tears for an Australian passenger, Qantas. It is too late. You never lost a moment of sleep for me before, so why should I for you? Your fate is well deserved and you brought it upon yourselves. Emirates, anyone?
® ® ®
*/ and I am not writing this just because they broke my favourite French pipe
**/ Queensland and Northern Territory Aerial Services Ltd, established on 16th November, 1920
[recommended reading: Matthew Benns – The Men Who Killed Qantas, Random House June 2011]