Alan Joyce, the man who was not

All this is simply to say that the tinder was dry, and piled high, when Joyce, on Saturday, gave a newspaper interview of almost astonishing improvidence, charged with indignation and dripping with self-pity.

In the July school holidays, a peak travel period, Joyce was “taking a break in Italy and then visiting her mother in Dublin”.

“I have an 82-year-old mother who is not doing very well and I shouldn’t have to justify to anyone that I see her. I think she’s completely unfair,” Joyce complained to the australian weekend. The article added that he “returned early from that vacation to try to right the ship [at Qantas].”

Joyce is a clever misreader. Here she is deploying a straw man argument, which works by attacking a position her critics never held. No one has ever questioned Alan Joyce’s right to visit his mother. He is using her as a human shield against legitimate censorship for sunbathing in Italy while her company is collapsing. That he cut his vacation short is a tacit admission that timing was not considered.

Joyce had not yet completed her inventory of grievances. “Why is what I do in my private life relevant? I am not a public figure. People consider the Qantas CEO to be a politician and he definitely shouldn’t be. He is a commercial figure”.

This is a really strange comment, especially since Joyce only said on Thursday that “I think I’ve received more resignation requests than any other CEO and probably any other public figure.”

Business figure, public figure: it is a distinction without difference. Joyce swears he’s not a politician, but he sure does act like one. He has spearheaded public policy campaigns on everything from gay marriage to corporate tax. In 2011, he shut down the entire country. Joyce quacks like a duck, and he is a duck.

joyce said Asia Squawk Box on Thursday that Qantas “ended up getting very little government support” during the pandemic. This was another unfathomable observation. From the Commonwealth, over two and a half years, Qantas managed to extract $2.7 billion of support, of which only $700 million was JobKeeper (passed on to employees). Joyce is an Olympic-grade charity robber!

This is another hallmark of a public figure. What average businessman asks for $2.7 billion and gets it? And much less forget that it happened.

In the year to June 30 alone, Qantas received $870 million in subsidies from the Australian government. The Qantas board turned around on Thursday and announced a $400 million buyback! Because they are in such a healthy position and the network does not need more investment?

By happy accident, the buyback boosts the stock price and thus brings Joyce closer to her long-term bonus hurdles.

Joyce also said the ounce that “when some of the union grievances are going to put the company in financial trouble and cause a lot of people to lose their jobs, I don’t think it’s fair, and it’s my job as CEO to stand up and fight.”

Qantas Group had 37,000 employees when Joyce was appointed CEO in 2008. In March 2020, there were 29,400 employees (including 1,800 baggage handlers illegally fired in November 2020) and today there are 21,600. It is nothing short of ironic. sublime that Joyce blames unions for causing many Qantas employees to lose their jobs.

The suggestion that he fights unions to save jobs is demonstrably false. It outsources jobs to save money, to pay 30 percent less for the same job, so there will be more money for shareholders. Pretending otherwise is vain.

As the Federal Court heard last year, Qantas used its “vanishing window of opportunity” to illegally lay off its entire national baggage-handling workforce during COVID, exploiting a once-in-a-lifetime moment when union members they could not take protected industrial action. .

And Qantas went to great lengths to quarantine Joyce from the decision and its aftermath. General Counsel andres finch executed a legal agreement by which Joyce delegated his decision authority to his subordinate Andres David.

In his testimony, David could not remember this happening before.

as justice miguel reads (him again!) observed at his trial, David “was also careful to give evidence that he did not speak or meet with Mr. Joyce about the [delegation instrument] and power of attorney, did not seek or obtain any input or advice from Mr. Joyce on the outsourcing decision (beyond any contribution he may have made in previous [group management committee] meetings, which he could not recall) and noted that at no time did ‘Mr. Joyce seek involvement in any stage of the process leading up to the decision, or in the decision itself.’”

Alan Joyce, the man who stands up and fights unions, wasn’t even there.

Qantas is a virtual monopoly, taking full advantage of the huge dependency of the Australian public. Their pricing power is massive. Unquestionably, there is a national interest in ensuring that your customer service is acceptable.

Joyce is just another monopolist, doing what every good captain of industry has done throughout the brief history of corporate Australia: staying ahead of the field and slowing down his competitors. He is a great career tactician.

The reason Joyce has developed such a distorted perspective is the same reason she has become such an unmissable public figure: She’s been in the job 14 years, which is at least five years too long. Former president leigh clifford endorsed it, but the current president richard goyder pleases him. Joyce played her board beautifully in 2019 for a contract extension.

First, Joyce had to stay behind to see through Project Dawn. So only he could get Qantas through COVID. Now only he can fix Qantas’s post-COVID problems. It is another false narrative and another sign of worship.

Joyce really has to stay because it’s the best job she’ll ever have. Which, for the good of the company, is no reason at all.

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