Qantas A330-300. Courtesy, QF

The Australian government has increased pressure on Qantas (QF) and its three unions to settle their long-running and bitter dispute as concerns grow about the impact on the economy (ATW Daily News, Oct. 14).

On Friday, Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard, speaking on ABC Radio, warned the parties that the government would exercise its powers to end the dispute.

"Qantas and the relevant unions say they want to negotiate this dispute. Well, I think they should get on and do it," Gillard said.

Federal Transport Minister Anthony Albanese on radio MTR said he is “very concerned” about the impact on the tourism industry and “has spoken to both Qantas and the unions about getting a sensible outcome.” He criticized the engineers’ union for talking down QF, singling out Australian Licensed Aircraft Engineer’s Assn. federal secretary Steve Purvinas, who is urging passengers to book with other airlines other than Qantas.

“I don’t understand, frankly, how it is in anyone’s interest to talk down this great Australian company,” Albanese said.

On Friday, QF hit back at union claims that CEO Alan Joyce’s salary had soared 71% in the past year, pointing out that in reality it is actually a decline.

QF said, “Mr. Joyce’s salary that was disclosed in Qantas’ 2011 Annual Report as A$5,008,000, —a 72% increase compared with the previous year—included items that must be costed to comply with Australian accounting standards even if the full value has not been realized. Removing share-based payments that were not realized in the year, Joyce’s actual pay realized for the year was A$3,043,000, 9% below his actual pay in 2009/10,” the spokesman said.