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View Full Version : Appalling Qantas Decision


Ken Borough
19th Dec 2009, 02:20
This has to be one of Qantas' worst decisions. All PPRUNERs and fellow travellers are encouraged to let Alan Joyce know what they think.

From the Sydney Morning Herald

Qantas queried on taking jobs off disabled workers

ANDREW HEASLEY, AVIATION REPORTER

December 18, 2009


QANTAS contracted packaging work to cheap prison labour at the expense of a company that employs disabled people.

After a retendering process, Qantas contracted the work — sealing earphones in plastic bags — to the NSW Department of Corrective Services, rather than its long-time contractor, Sunnyfield, which employs disabled people.

"We undertook a review with all our [packaging] services in NSW," said a Qantas spokeswoman. "Sunnyfield was not successful in this process and the work went to Corrective Services."

The Federal Government's parliamentary secretary for disabilities, Bill Shorten, said he had made inquiries with Qantas over the matter.

The Corrections Department was now subcontracting the work back to Sunnyfield.

"I'm satisfied Qantas is doing everything it can for people with disabilities," Mr Shorten said.

News of the about-turn came on the day Mr Shorten met Jetstar over its treatment of disabled passengers, after complaints were publicised.

Paralympian Kurt Fearnley hauled himself on his hands through the terminal rather than use a Jetstar wheelchair that he could not wheel independently and a Melbourne blind couple, Kathryn Beaton and Glen Bracegirdle, were refused a booking to Sydney because of her guide dog.

Yesterday Mr Shorten and the disability discrimination commissioner Graeme Innes met Jetstar's chief executive, Bruce Buchanan, to discuss the airline's disability access practices, a meeting he described as "constructive", with more discussions to come.

The Federal Government outlined its commitment to air travel access for disabled people in its aviation industry blueprint released this week, with a caveat that it "recognises that meeting aviation safety, occupational health and safety and other legislative requirements can hinder the provision of equal access to air services".

The travel saga did not end for Ms Beaton, her guide dog, Prince, and her partner when they eventually made it to Sydney.

While there, she was told to leave a Chinese restaurant after they had just sat down, because the owner said that dogs weren't allowed inside.

She said she handed the restaurateur a Guide Dogs Access Card, which has printed on it the rights of blind people with guide dogs, but the owner handed it back and, in a hostile manner, said they had to leave.

She said the incident left her "incredibly upset".

She has reported the matter to Guide Dogs Victoria and NSW for investigation.

Tempo
19th Dec 2009, 02:35
KB,

This has to be one of Qantas' worst decisions.

Turn it up.......

It was up for retendering and the best offer won out. Qantas is a business...not a charity.

BrissySparkyCoit
19th Dec 2009, 02:36
Ever since I can remember, headsets were packaged by female prisoners. I have never heard of them being packaged by disabled workers. I'd say someone is trying to send Qantas on a guilt trip by twisting the truth.

Ngineer
19th Dec 2009, 03:14
It was up for retendering and the best offer won out. Qantas is a business...not a charity.

True a business, however there are many businesses in Australia that support the handicapped and disabled by offering them work. It is a shame that the chase for the almighty dollar can make some people blind to the needs of others, or even our community.

We have seen the board display very deep pockets when forking out for a farewell at a function centre, for example Crown casino. Or even a generous farewell package for a "medium term" manager.

Thought we were a sponsor of "don't dis my ability", or is this another case of lip service.

Buster Hyman
19th Dec 2009, 03:26
Qantas is a business...not a charity.
Considering the amount of Govt. money that has gone into it over the years, you'd think we'd get some sort of return?

:p

Pegasus747
19th Dec 2009, 04:30
Would be happy for Qantas to return to government ownership.....directors from the lib and labour govts of the day, no accountability, no transparency, no need to make any profit, new aircraft paid for by the tax payers.... what could be better..... Public Service Airlines Again!!

Of course the benefits for the public would be incredible.... every sheltered workshop in the country could bid for the work. Maintenance done by the deaf and blind, catering by meals on wheels the list of benefits for the public are enormous

Tempo
19th Dec 2009, 04:39
It is a shame that the chase for the almighty dollar can make some people blind to the needs of others, or even our community.

This is the world we live in today.....like it or not. Every business is the same.

framer
19th Dec 2009, 05:03
Whats the purpose of the business? To a) provided the service of transporting pax and b) to provide employment, training, and opportunities to people who live in Australia c) create profits that eventually provide employment, training and opportunities to people who live in Australia.Thats my personal take on it. I'm not a businessman so I'm sure some will correct me but Geez wayne....when did businesses stop seeing themselves as an important structural part of the society and sstart seeing themselves as cash generating machines for international shareholders?

Ready to be shot down.......pffftt

help me jebus
19th Dec 2009, 05:13
1111111111

ditch handle
19th Dec 2009, 05:28
Yes Qantas is both a business and increasingly, a poor corporate citizen.

Shame really but there you go.

Middle management, [who make these types of decisions] have over the years been stacked with corporate sociopaths bereft of anything approaching morality, humanity, principle or compassion.

No ?

Pegasus747
19th Dec 2009, 05:38
Framer the objective of any business is to essentially make a product or produce a service that someone wants.... the objective of the owners of a business is to make a profit.

Now if a business can conduct itself in an ethical way i think that's also laudable, but in fairness when doing things ethically adds to cost most consumers dont give a rats ass and go for the cheaper product.

Qantas for example generally does a lot of ethical procurement and activity but the public dont make their decisions to fly on that basis, they make it on schedule, price, service and safety.

I love the comments in the media from punters who say things like " i will never travel with Qantas again" because what?? the business that was doing one outsourced piece of work is not being done by another group of societies retarded in another "institution""????

Oh puuuleeease give me a break. Those making the comments have probably never travelled on Qantas anyways and wouldnt make a decision based on ethics in their lives... if they are so ethical have a look at all the made in china things around their homes....amongst the worlds greatest abusers of human rights

dunerider
19th Dec 2009, 05:49
Blackbandit and Santo.bill I have re-read your posts several times and find them highly offensive even though I still can't work out what would motivate somebody to think those thoughts let alone share them with an open forum. This entire story and thread is a sad indictment on Qantas as well as society, if what I read here is representative of such. I would ask the moderator to have a look at what has been written here and ban those posters who are discriminating against those with a disability. You all only think of those with a congenital disability, and forgot about those with an acquired injury from car accidents, household accidents etc. It is another case of 'there but for the grace of God go I'.

As an addend I should declare I have a vested interest here as I am the parent of one such 'retard' that you all refer to with such empathy here.

sagan
19th Dec 2009, 06:21
After reading his post above I note Santo.bill is trying to run away and not pay child support in another thread.

Gutless.

Tidbinbilla
19th Dec 2009, 06:43
Both cretins Santos Bill and Black Bandit have been permanently banned.

Their antics aren't needed here.

And a word of warning to anyone who wishes to vilify those less fortunate than us: DO SO AT YOUR OWN RISK OF A LIFETIME BAN DOWN TO YOUR IP ADDRESS!!

One bloody angry TID :=:ugh:

john_tullamarine
19th Dec 2009, 08:41
There are many companies which go quietly about their business and, on the side, make various contributions, in various ways, to activities and organisations which do good works within the community.

The earlier comment about the value of being a good corporate citizen is a valid observation.

rmcdonal
19th Dec 2009, 08:50
So QANTAS should have picked Sunnyfield because they have disabled people working for them rather then the correctional facility because they do not?

A Comfy Chair
19th Dec 2009, 08:57
The problem is, again, we don't know all the details.

While an airline like Qantas should, where possible support the Australian community and those less fortunate, at what cost is it expected to do this?

I certainly don't know details, but what is the cost differential? How did it transpire? For example, did the existing contract holder fulfill the contract efficiently, or was there supply problems? How about the price? Did the incumbant's price triple when negotiating the new contract, making them prohibitively expensive? While Qantas should do what it can, it can't be expected to do it completely at the expense of business practice, especially given the fact that the public want cheaper and cheaper flights. Its pretty rich of the public to bag out Qantas for using cheaper labour then complain about how expensive their fares are.

While we certainly have a right to be cautious and skeptical of some decisions (and we've all seen some of the terrible management decisions), but its a bit harsh to put all of the blame on Qantas without knowing even the basics of the negotiations!

The Comments of Mr Shorten, after discussing this decision, should give some view - "I'm satisfied Qantas is doing everything it can for people with disabilities".

p.j.m
19th Dec 2009, 09:07
This is the world we live in today.....like it or not. Every business is the same.

Obviously this was a job for the disabled people, not a business, so no doubt they only charged peanuts for the work, what has changed that have made them more expensive?

I'd be interested to know the real story. More likely the "disabled workshop" have been privatised and the new owners want to make profits out of the disabled workers endeavours, rather than providing them something to do. This may be the REAL story!

rutan around
19th Dec 2009, 10:04
I think the point everyone is missing is the gross unfairness of any company trying to tender against a Govt organization which for all intents and purposes uses slaves. I'm sure Sunnyfield has to pay wages plus all the other costs associated with having a business. If the prisoners were costed out @ $50,000 per year I doubt they'd win the contract. If a Govt body wants to win against private enterprise Govt will always win because they don't care how much taxpayers money they lose.
Don't call any illegal strikes. You may find yourself jailed and then tendered out @ $1.50 a day competing against regular contracted pilots.
I repeat - It's unfair for Governments to tender against private enterprise if the real cost of the Govt tender is being subsidised by the taxpayer.
Cheers R.A

Spinnerhead
19th Dec 2009, 10:28
Good to see everyone jumping on the media speculation bandwagon with only minimal information. I bet you all love to watch "a current affair"!

Romulus
19th Dec 2009, 10:51
This bit strikes me as odd:


The Corrections Department was now subcontracting the work back to Sunnyfield.


If this is true then one of two things are happening:

1) Sunnyfield tried to put in a high bid to QANTAS and got caught out and then offered a lower price to Corrections.

2) There is pyramid tendering going on which is illegal.

Agree we don't know all the facts but the outcome could be quite interesting if Dept of Corrections get busted...

10DowningSt
19th Dec 2009, 11:54
As an outsider, I've been wondering when someone would point out that Sunnyfield was then sub-contracted to do the work.

Qantas must follow a strictly commercial policy, agreed. It's not a charity.

On a strictly commercial level there is ony one possible conclusion. Whoever was responsible for this tender process was incompetent or corrupt, perhaps both.

What's the evidence for that? That the work was sub-contracted to Sunnyfield, presumably with the Corrections Department taking a slice. As always when something like this happens, the next question is which individual(s) have suddenly got some extra spending money. As we in the old world say, "Cui bono?"

Sunfish
19th Dec 2009, 19:46
The trouble with prison industries is that they are neither an industry nor a business.

Prisons have a supply of captive labour. They can charge as much or as little as they like, makes no difference, just screws up other businesses who try to "compete" with them.

tail wheel
19th Dec 2009, 21:55
Obviously no one considers this may have been a perfectly legitimate and cost effective business arrangement?

After a retendering process, Qantas contracted the work sealing earphones in plastic bags to the NSW Department of Corrective Services, rather than its long-time contractor, Sunnyfield, which employs disabled people.

"We undertook a review with all our [packaging] services in NSW," said a Qantas spokeswoman. "Sunnyfield was not successful in this process and the work went to Corrective Services."

The Federal Government's parliamentary secretary for disabilities, Bill Shorten, said he had made inquiries with Qantas over the matter.

The Corrections Department was now subcontracting the work back to Sunnyfield.

I read the above that, rather than have a number of, or multiple contracts for packging (headphones, cutlery etc), Qantas may have amalgamated a number of sub contracts into one packaging contract, Corrective Services secured the contract on commercial merit and capability and sub contracted one packaging contract back to Sunnyfield? Perhaps Sunnyfield did not have the commercial capability to undertake all packaging contracts?

Rather than the perpetual, boringly repetitious Qantas bias and knocking and selective journalist bias and knocking that gets posted to PPRuNe, this may be a perfectly normal, cost effective business transaction with benefits to all parties?

I have no idea what occurred, but I am prepared to have a far more open mind than many of the anti Qantas brigade that repetitiously post here! :*

help me jebus
19th Dec 2009, 22:11
11111111111

Hugh Jarse
19th Dec 2009, 22:33
Sunnyfield - Our History (http://www.sunnyfield.com.au/templates/su2/page/page_html_standard.php?secID=223)

Sunnyfield has been in existence for MANY years and IS a charity which does fantastic work. Income from the various businesses is used to fund activities for people with intellectual disabilities. Essentially to prevent them from being institutionalised.

When I was a kid, I had a friend in my street who went to Sunnyfield every day. She no doubt benefited from a) a more or less mainstream education, and b) being integrated into society (for want of better words) as a productive employee once her education was complete. She would have received neither of these had she been placed in an institution, which was the norm in those days.

Those of you who doubt the intent of Sunnyfield should check the above link.

I won't get into the argument of QF being a good corporate citizen. They sort of answered that one themselves - business decision or not :ugh:

gobbledock
19th Dec 2009, 22:53
At the end of the day,regardless of personal opinions relating to 'QF's Moral Compass', it is an airline,which makes it a business,which in turn means at times it will and has to make financial based decisions that will not please all, whether that be the public,the business sector or other groups of interest.
As long as the decisions made,especially with tendering,are conducted 'above board' and in line with corporate and legal guidelines then life moves forward.Time will reveal whether that has been the case on this occasion.
Due to QF being a national icon there will always be plenty of emotion spilled in various direction's when decisions are made, thats just the nature of the beast.

youcangetholdofjules
20th Dec 2009, 04:17
As someone who has lived in Russia, where the selling of your grandparent's kidneys would attract praise for craftiness rather than condemnation, while I would accept that business decisions are made almost purely on a minimum-cost-for-required-outcome basis, is there no room in these decisions for the human element?

Hell that is what people generally like about Australia - where people get a fair go. That the work was subcontracted back to Sunnyfield suggests that there might have been more to it than money and we'll never know most of the details, but...
at the very least Qantas should realise that decisions like these, if exposed in the media, are somewhat damaging to reputations, and act with a little more forethought.

cjam
20th Dec 2009, 07:59
The people running qf don't know why they are doing it.
They think they are doing it soley to return a profit to shareholders and themselves. This is of course one aspect of the reason for the company. But it is carrying too much weight of late.
Sending maintenance overseas........beancounters and execs happy
Wasting millions on engineers strike....beancounters and execs happy
Paying millions to incompetant ceo's........Execs happy
Choosing this contract over sunnyfield.....beancounters and execs happy
Playing pilot and CC groups against each other .....beancounters and execs happy

I don't work for the company so thats all I can think of but from the outside it doesn't look like QF is taking the community that is their custom, public opinion, employee satisfaction ....or even safety into account enough. It will come back to bite them on the bum you can be sure....maybe it already is?

AllInGoodTime
20th Dec 2009, 09:02
Spot on Hugh Jarse. Beautifully written.

FFG 02
20th Dec 2009, 09:27
I did a character guidance module when I joined the ADF over 12yrs ago. We went through Goulbourn jail which included time in the ward where the mentally unstable/handicapped prisoners (can't think of pc way to put it) were accommodated. I distinctly remember seeing the bags of qantas headsets and enquired to their purpose.

Was informed by staff that it was a form of gainful employment for these guys. Still shudder at the guy who did that and then casually explained to me how he killed his dad with an axe.

It is nothing new!


...and the character guidance didn't help- I still became a pilot!!!!!

captaintunedog777
21st Dec 2009, 01:09
It just never stops. Who gives a. Qantas have got to lower costs.

ditch handle
21st Dec 2009, 02:16
All expired/old stock blankets and pillows are donated to charity

The alternative to Qantas is what? Landfill? That costs money.

All old uniform items are shredded to make packing for pillows/blankets/doonas for charity

Alternative? Landfill. Money.

The charity boxes in the crew room (all unwanted hotel amenities) sent to charities by Qantas

Provided by aircrew at no cost to Qantas. Who gets the kudos? Qantas management as you would suggest.

The financial support/ sponsorship of just about every sports code in Australia

This is generally called sponsorship. How much would QF do of it, without the ability to attach it's name to billboards, uniforms etc.

Ah easy. None. I put it to you :rolleyes: that QF's so called "support" of sport in Australia is not done for the altruistic reasons implied.

The only genuine examples of charitable work that you've provided are Pathfinders and the cabin crew team.
Both of which happen to be long standing initiatives [decades old] introduced and driven by operational staff [read cabin/tech crew] that have continued to be granted the assistance of QF management.

Socket
21st Dec 2009, 02:47
Good corporate citizen or not, in the tender process any company has to draw the line somewhere. So Sunnyfield lost the contract to the DCS, fair enough. I am just wondering how the DCS got into the business of subcontracting external contracts.

It is well known that the DCS pay peanuts to the prisoners and have no worries about overhead costs (already covered by you and me) and can therefor undercut any competing tender. How fair is it then that they can tender against commercial interests, including charities like Sunnyfield who all have the bottom line to watch out for.

To then subcontract work back to a losing competitor in the tender process smacks of at the least greed and at the worst corruption to me.

Now the DCS is making a profit off Sunnyfield who (given they lost in the tender process to DCS) I can only assume must be doing the work for less than they were before.

The DCS and the responsible minister should be ashamed of themselves.

RedTBar
21st Dec 2009, 02:57
t just never stops. Who gives a. Qantas have got to lower costs.
Others are right and we don't know the full story but the last post by captaindunedog777 reeks of uninformed bias.
Would you cptn..777 think differently and give a proverbial if one of your children attended sunnyfield?
I remember when the redtail sponsored the gay and lesbian mardi gra when it suited the person who made that decision.so why not sponsor the sunnyfield establishment if they are so concerned about injustices in our society.
The inmates doing the work in our esteemed correctional facilities arrived there because of their own activities and no one else.
The children who attend sunnyfield are there through no fault of their own.
Yes,every business has the right and if a public company the duty to make a profit but if you think QF has got to lower costs may I suggest captaindunedog777 that you offer a pay cut for yourself first.

skybed
21st Dec 2009, 07:28
interesting you might find that qf is shortly providing a positive financial forecast for the year:eek:

stubby jumbo
21st Dec 2009, 12:21
....you're on the money their skybed.......you must have good sources.:D

the increase in revenue must be form ditching the folk at Sunnyfield for the crim's at Her Majesty's.

as others have said.......from QF's perspective its all about the dollar:ok:

BrissySparkyCoit
21st Dec 2009, 12:43
It's funny how people trash Qantas over this without knowing the full details of the process/decision.

As I said earlier, for as long as I have worked in QF, (nearly 17 years), the headsets have been packaged by prison inmates. So the word "renewed" in relation to the contract seems to be incorrect.

The media twists the facts to suit themselves. There may be a very good explination as to why they were not awarded the contract. From what I've read here, Sunnyfield are doing the work in the end anyway.

Sorry to pour water on the fire of opportunity to trash Qantas one again.

Buster Hyman
21st Dec 2009, 13:53
It's funny how people trash Qantas....
Do we need a reason?

:E;);)

BrissySparkyCoit
21st Dec 2009, 13:57
Trashing where trashings due..... in this case, I think people are being a little premature.

lowerlobe
21st Dec 2009, 19:07
for as long as I have worked in QF, (nearly 17 years), the headsets have been packaged by prison inmates.
That's interesting because when I was flying I remember that the headsets were done by handicapped people and I don't mean those handicapped because they have broken the law at some stage.......

Socket
21st Dec 2009, 22:16
As I said earlier, for as long as I have worked in QF, (nearly 17 years), the headsets have been packaged by prison inmates. So the word "renewed" in relation to the contract seems to be incorrect.


Sounds like you really know what you are talking about.

From the ABC;


Mr Shorten is meeting representatives from both Qantas and Jetstar today to discuss company policies for people with disabilities.
Sunnyfield Enterprises has been employing people with intellectual disabilities on Sydney's northern beaches for decades. For the past 15 years, its workers have repaired and repacked Qantas economy class headsets.
But last month Qantas dumped the Sunnyfield crew for a cheaper option.

ABC Local - Qantas gives jobs to prisoners over disabled (http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2009/12/17/2774080.htm?site=local)

Taildragger67
23rd Dec 2009, 08:46
There appear to be differing recollections / impressions as to who actually packs the headsets. Maybe there's been more than one entity onvolved over the years, maybe it's gone back and forward, maybe, at times, one has sub-contracted to the other?

But generally, I think a quick look at Part 2D.1 of the Corporations Act 2001 (C'th) (http://www.comlaw.gov.au/ComLaw/Legislation/ActCompilation1.nsf/previewlodgmentattachments/AE8752FC79C1C606CA25762C002B4B58/$file/Corps2001Vol01_1282_WD02.htm#param235) - duties and powers - especially sections 180 to 184 - might be relevant to a few posts on this thread.