Friday, October 28, 2011

Qantas boss stays the course as unions vow to fight on

Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce has used the airline's annual general meeting in Sydney to warn unions he will not give in to their demands.

But as anticipated, the airline's board faced tough questions from angry shareholders and union representatives.

I spoke with Alan Joyce on AM a few hours before he faced a fiery annual meeting.

My colleague Emily Bourke attended the meeting and outlined the issues and the raw emotions when she spoke to The World Today.

A pay rise for Mr Joyce was approved in a vote amid jeers from small shareholders, union representatives and the airline's pilots.

Angry investors demanded to know why Mr Joyce and the company's executive directors deserved a pay rise.

The Australian Shareholders' Association calculated that in the last five years executive pay at the airline had continued to rise despite the company's share price falling 65 per cent and dividends from 36 cents to zero.

The chairman of Qantas' remuneration board, James Strong, defended the pay and denied that Mr Joyce would receive a 71 per cent pay increase.

He said it was much less than the $5 million reported.

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