Dissatisfied Qantas pilots are calling for the head of chairman Richard Goyder, after it was revealed he accepted a $100k pay rise while staff are asked to stomach a two year wage freeze.
After a tumultuous few months that resulted in former chief executive Alan Joyce vacating the role early, the Australian and International Pilots Association is calling on Mr Goyder to step down.
The union has written to freshly minted Qantas chief executive Vanessa Hudson, informing her of the pilots’ position, saying the national carrier is in desperate need of a culture reset that cannot occur if Mr Goyder remains in the chairman’s seat.
It marks the first time in history such a demand has been made, and comes amid record low pilot morale after what they say has been a “botched” recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic, and a series of “woeful” decisions.
“Richard Goyder has overseen one of the most damaging periods in Qantas history, which has included the illegal sacking of 1700 workers, allegations of illegally marketing cancelled flights, and a terribly managed return to operations after Covid-19,” AIPA president Captain Tony Lucas said.
“The morale of Qantas pilots has never been lower. We have totally lost confidence in Goyder and his board
“Qantas desperately needs a culture reset, but how can this happen with Richard Goyder as chairman?”
The call comes after Qantas was forced to remove the expiry dates on $570m worth of Covid-19 travel credits after widespread backlash.
Then, the ACCC launched an investigation into claims the airline had sold tickets for already-cancelled flights.
Elsewhere, Qantas and the Transport Workers Union have been ordered to attend mediation after the High Court unanimously rejected Qantas’ appeal against a ruling that the airline illegally outsourced ground staff.
Last week, Ms Hudson issued an apology to customers for the airline’s recent performance – admitting the national carrier had “let you down in many ways, and for that I am sorry”.
A senate inquiry is also underway to determine whether Qantas had a role in the government’s decision to block Qatar Airway’s bid to nearly double its flight offerings to Australia.
Despite all that, Mr Goyder last week assured The World Today he had the confidence of the board, and major investors wanted him to say.
But the pilots say it’s untenable, “galling and tone deaf” that Mr Goyder – who now earns a $750k salary – continue in the role while pilots are asked accept a pay freeze.
Captain Lucas said Qantas was “more than just an airline”, and deserved to be given the best opportunity to win back Australia’s trust.
“For our great national carrier to flourish, it needs leadership from a board that understands the value of its employees, respects its customers, and can win back the trust of the nation.”