The total includes already announced job losses associated with the closure of Qantas’s Adelaide catering facility. It appears that most of Qantas’s Adelaide-based operations will close, with reports of engineers, baggage handlers and check-in staff already being offered voluntary redundancies.
The 5000 effective full-time jobs might translate into a higher number of actual jobs lost if part-timers are targeted. In its announcement, Qantas promises to work with employees to minimise the adverse impacts of these redundancies. This is already evident in the timing of the Qantas action, which puts Qantas workers ahead of Ford, Holden and Toyota workers in the job queue.
The realities ahead
All large-scale job loss events throw large numbers of workers with similar sets of skills onto the labour market at the same time. This creates long queues of jobseekers competing for the same types of vacancies in the same places. Work in the aviation sector is highly specialised but the local aviation sector is not expanding, so the chances of retrenched workers finding another job in aviation are slim. Those former Qantas workers who eventually find work in new occupations in new industries will face quite significant long-term losses as they rebuild their careers from scratch.
The job queues created by large-scale retrenchment events tend to be occupation-specific, resulting in quite different experiences of unemployment and patterns of outcomes for different groups of workers.
In the case of former…