Unions condemn 'premature' Qantas job cuts

Daniel McCulloch
Unions say Qantas' decision to axe 6000 jobs because of coronavirus is premature

Unions have savaged the "deplorable" decision to sack 6000 Qantas workers and keep 15,000 others stood down.

ACTU president Michele O'Neil said the announcement proved Qantas had abandoned Australia and its workers in order to preserve profits.

Ms O'Neil also took aim at Scott Morrison for allowing the mass job cuts to happen, arguing the prime minister's refusal to extend JobKeeper payments to all aviation workers left thousands without support.

"Scott Morrison must act immediately to extend JobKeeper, deliver a direct and urgent industry assistance package, and convene crisis talks immediately," she said.

The Australian Services Union is urging Qantas to reverse its "premature" decision.

ASU assistant national secretary Linda White said Qantas had one of the best balance sheets of any airline in the world and would be well placed once the coronavirus pandemic passed.

"Cutting jobs and capacity now will only hamstring the industry and economy - Qantas is shooting itself in the foot," she said.

"If Qantas does not reverse its decision, we will fight for these jobs to be retained."