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Labor Senator Tony Sheldon says price gouging of airline ticket prices by companies like Qantas is “absolutely shocking” and had an effect on businesses big and small, as well as Australian travellers.

As we’ve already reported today, Qantas domestic flight staff voted overnight to take protected industrial action as a result of expired employment agreements and the burden of the COVID-19.

The pay dispute follows the carrier’s ASX announcement on Wednesday of a $150 million upgrade to its profit forecast.

Here’s a little of what Sheldon told Sky News earlier today.

They’re not only gouging from the Australian community, they’re also gouging from their own workforce.

What Qantas has done in its negotiations – whether it be pilots, engineers, flight attendants and of course their white collar workforce – they’re saying, ‘If you don’t turn around and accept the agreement, we’re going to put you back to the award’. 

Twenty years of negotiations that have been openly agreed to are now thrown out the door, and you can now accept the 50 or 60 per cent wage cut.”

Sheldon said Qantas CEO Alan Joyce had “spearheaded” an attack against the federal government’s industrial relations bill in order to stifle a measure in the bill which does not allow businesses to unilaterally dump an existing enterprise bargaining agreement.

Sheldon said while just 35 per cent of Australians are on enterprise bargaining agreements, more than half of those people’s agreements have already expired.

Senator Tony Sheldon

Senator Tony SheldonCredit:Rhett Wyman

“I agree with Steve Knott (chief of the Australian Resources and Energy Employer Association) that these big corporate gorillas like Alan Joyce are hoarding all the bananas and not sharing them out, neither to the workforce nor the community,” he said.

“Qantas right now is a wonderful company, but the leadership is letting it down… it needs a rethink as a company about how it operates.”

Sheldon did not disagree when Sky News presenter Laura Jayes put to him that he wanted to see Joyce sacked as CEO.

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