Qantas boss Alan Joyce paid $2.2 million despite carrier’s struggles

Federal Labor senator Tony Sheldon described Joyce’s pay packet as “offensive as all hell.”
“He obviously feels he’s earned it after doing all the bad work on the tarmac,” Sheldon, a former secretary of the Transport Workers’ Union, said.

Critics of Joyce have blamed the airline’s aggressive cost-cutting program at the start of the pandemic – which included the axing of 9400 jobs – for its slipping performance. Qantas outsourced baggage ground handling in 2020, resulting in 1700 redundancies. The Federal Court found the move was in breach of the Fair Work Act, a verdict the airline is appealing in the High Court.


“It’s shameless that while thousands of people are stranded in Bali and everywhere else, he gives himself a massive payday,” said Sheldon. “Flights are still being cancelled right around Australia. All the jobs lost, all the lives ruined, and this is what it’s all been about, Joyce’s pay packet.”

Sheldon suggested the Qantas board “show some contrition” in light of the turmoil confronting the airline, including its industrial woes.“It just demonstrates that Alan Joyce has got the board around his little finger with a multimillion-dollar ring,” he said.

Formerly the highest-paid executive in the country, Joyce’s actual pay was 77 per cent lower than before COVID-19, when he pocketed $9.9 million in FY19 and $10.8 million in FY20 due to the lack of a bonus. He took home $24 million in 2017, driven by the skyrocketing value of Qantas shares included in his remuneration.

Transport Workers Union national secretary Michael Kaine accused Qantas of rewarding Joyce for “crucifying the spirit of Australia.”

Across the group, executive pay was 64 per cent lower in 2022 than before COVID, due to no short-term bonuses and a freeze on contracted base pay.

Total pay across the company’s top five executives was $8 million, up from $7.3 million in 2021 and $5.8 million in 2020 but down from $22 million in 2019.

Qantas reported its full-year loss more than halved to $860 million in FY22. The result means Qantas’ cumulative losses during the COVID-19 pandemic have surpassed $7 billion.

In the annual report Goyder said the loss “hopefully represents the last chapter of the terrible impact the COVID-19 crisis had on Qantas.”

“Executive pay has been constrained throughout the pandemic, with a wage freeze and no annual bonuses for the third year in a row. The retention bonus in place for next year is key to keeping the considerable talent we have, and it depends on delivering the recovery in full,” Goyder continued.

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