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There is a chance that by the time this post comes out, the issue I am about to write about is over, but even if it is, the underlying bollocks of it all is still very, very relevant.
I’ve written tons about my hatred of Qantas in the past, however their latest action is something to behold.
For months, the airline has been in a battle with unions over pay, conditions and the possibility of moving jobs to Asian countries.
In some respects I understand this.
The airline business is incredibly competitive and if you don’t evolve and change, you are dead – and Qantas is in a situation where it’s international business is currently losing AU$200 million dollars a year and things need to be done and done now.
This sort of thing is hard at the best of times but it becomes especially difficult when you are regarded as a national airline, because anything involving giving local jobs to people in other countries gets seen as unpatriotic – adding more pressure and emotion to an already volatile situation.
That said, this issue has hardly just come on to Qantas managements radar.
These circumstances have been a ticking time bomb for literally years and the fact Qantas senior management decided to turn their collective backs on it – including refusing to take action in other areas of their business that could have helped stem the impending situation [beyond just outsourcing jobs or cost cutting services] means they can’t hold up their hands up and claim to be blameless.
Which is why their decision last week to literally stop all Qantas flights and lock Qantas staff out from the company is remarkable in it’s mentalness.
Apart from the fact they’ve left paid passengers all around the World without a means to get home [suggesting they should “club together” with other stranded passengers and share a hotel room while the situation waits to be resolved] they have tried to put all the blame on the unions … attempting to paint them as the bad guys while they are simply innocent corporate victims.
Couple of problems with this.
1. People might not trust unions – especially unions representing the mafiaesque ‘baggage handlers’ – however their view of many corporations is just as questionable.
2. At the end of the day, the decision to stop all the airlines was with the Qantas CEO … meaning he was the one that decided that it was just ‘tough luck’ if any of their passengers were left stranded.
Regardless of the reasons why, this is a mad situation to put your brand in – especially a brand that makes such a big fucking deal of saying they’ll always bring Aussies home. Hell, it’s even the theme of their bloody advertising ‘jingle’ – “I Still Call Australia Home” – the most myopic, bordering-on-prejudice, tune you have ever heard.
Unsurprisingly, the King Of Opportunity – Richard Branson – has jumped at the chance to leverage this opportunity by offering stranded passengers super-low discount fairs to get them home and of course that is very smart, because at the end of the day, regardless of comfort or entertainment or food or hot hostesses, one of the key reasons you choose an airline is because you believe they’ll get you where you want to be, when they say they’ll get you there and Qantas have just destroyed one of the most important ingredients a brand can have … an ingredient that takes years to develop. Trust.
Act in haste. Regret in leisure.
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