Qantas will have extra security at its terminals in major capital cities around Australia today in anticipation of trouble from militant unions after the expected announcement of up to 5000 redundancies.
The cuts, to include planes and routes, will be announced with the Flying Kangaroo's half-year result to December 31, tipped to be a record loss of more than $300 million.
Qantas has had numerous battles with some unions over outsourcing, sending work offshore, pay and conditions. At its 2011 annual general meeting at Sydney University, police with guard dogs and metal detectors kept angry unionists at bay at the height of the airline's bitter struggle over negotiations with three unions.
Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce grounded the airline the next day after unions vowed to continue disruptive tactics.
The airline will announce details of the cuts to the Australian Securities Exchange at 6.30am today before a news conference at 7.30am. Qantas sources said there was extra security at Melbourne Airport yesterday and Perth staff were told that extra guards would be at the airport today.
Yesterday, the Australian Federal Police and Qantas declined to comment on security.
Flagging problems, Licensed Aircraft Engineers Association secretary Steve Purvinas emailed the airline asking for a safety risk assessment after the cuts are announced.
One staff member said Mr Purvinas told Qantas "some members have expressed concerns that the announcement is causing them to have trouble sleeping and this is leading to a situation of fatigue at work".
_The West Australian _also understands Qantas expects many staff to call in sick, so it alerted all part-time flight attendants to be available for work.
Mr Joyce will meet union delegates tomorrow but the ALAEA will not attend. "We've been to enough of these meetings to know that it will be a waste of time," Mr Purvinas told members.
"They will show the same presentation that is released to the stock exchange, ask if we have any questions and not answer one of them directly."
Today, Qantas international chief executive Simon Hickey and domestic chief executive Lyell Strambi will hold meetings at the airline's Mascot headquarters to answer questions from staff.
Qantas has flagged that it wants to make savings proportionally greater than those achieved by its alliance partner American Airlines when it went into bankruptcy protection in 2011. American cut its staff costs 17 per cent.
'We've been to enough of these meetings to know that it will be a waste of time.'"ALAEA secretary *Steve Purvinas *