I spent much of my time on the weekend trying to work out what on earth Qantas was doing. What had been the incentive for Qantas to take the ‘nuclear option’ – to close down the airline worldwide, an action that would cause huge damage to all stakeholders, including shareholders and workers?
I wake this morning and find that overnight, Qantas has apparently had a win under our industrial relations laws. Industrial action is terminated for 21 days and Qantas flights will resume today.
So apparently the incentive is in our IR laws. Supporters of those laws on the ABC news this morning complained that Qantas did not need to ‘go nuclear’ but had other alternatives (including the Prime Minister on AM – transcript will be up later today). But it appears that the Qantas action has led to a ‘win’ for the company. Qantas has had union action ‘terminated’.
I am not an IR law expert but the lesson seems simple. If the laws create incentives for companies to ‘go nuclear’ then the laws need to be changed.