The Australian Services Union Victorian Private Sector Branch has expressed outrage at the decision by Qantas to close down the Melbourne and Brisbane call centres.
The Victorian call centre is based in Camberwell and employs 320 Victorians, and the Brisbane call centre employs 270.
ASU Victorian Branch Secretary Ingrid Stitt said this is a short-sighted decision that will affect service standards and irreparably damage the Qantas brand.
“Today is another day of sadness and shock for dedicated Qantas staff.
“This decision makes it very clear – Qantas is no longer the spirit of Australia. Once again we see a short-sighted decision that will impact adversely on Qantas workers and customers.
“The closure of Brisbane and Melbourne call centres leaves Hobart to carry the load. And yet it is hard to see how the Hobart office will sustain the increased numbers of jobs that would be required.
“There is no doubt that we will see a majority of these jobs sent overseas. We know that when these jobs leave our shores they never come back.
“Our national airline should be supporting Australian jobs, not plunging hundreds of Victorians into unemployment.
“Once again we see CEO Alan Joyce making irrational, panicked decisions as a quick fix, without thinking through the long term damage that shutting down two major Australian call centres will have on the Qantas brand.
“The Melbourne call centre employs domestic operators and multi-skilled operators who take both domestic and international bookings. These are the people who make Qantas the company it is today. They are the reason you fly.
“These staff are average working Australians on an honest wage. They do not deserve to wear the brunt of poor management decisions. Qantas staff have always been willing to adapt to make the airline more efficient, but now they’re facing unemployment.
“Melbourne is the only 24 hour, 7 day a week call centre within the Qantas Group. Dismantling this resource will see significant decline in the service standard Australians expect from our national airline,” Ms Stitt said.
The union is scheduled to hold talks with Qantas tomorrow about the future of hundreds of call centre workers.