December 15, 2006
Qantas takeover concerns union
The takeover of Qantas by Macquarie Bank and United States private equity firm, Texas Pacific Group, could spell trouble for workers here and across the Tasman says the Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union.
The move is the latest and largest in a series of private equity takeovers of established companies in the region including the disastrous Feltex takeover which ended up costing hundreds of Australasian jobs.
EPMU National Secretary Andrew Little says there is good reason for workers to be concerned about both the Qantas deal and the current private equity boom in general.
“Too many of these deals are about big money, fast turn around and quick profit with little concern for the long-term future of the company that is taken over or for the welfare of its workers.
“What really needs to be faced here is the fact that big quick profits have to come from somewhere and all too often it is out of the pockets of small local investors and workers. That’s not something we want to see happen in any industry in New Zealand.
“These firms come in and pump up profits by stripping assets and attacking wages and conditions and then bail out for big profits before the whole business comes crashing down.
“Private equity firms also have less transparency and less legal responsibility for disclosure than listed companies with the result that many decisions affecting the lives of many people are now being made behind closed doors.
“This sudden increase in private equity investment in New Zealand is driving a boom that may not be sustainable. We need to look at ways of making sure we’re not facing a crash where Kiwi workers end up being the ones left paying the price,” Little says.