Qantas Airways CEO Alan Joyce is facing heavy criticism for receiving a pay increase worth more than $250,000 despite Qantas being hindered by several flight cancellations over the summer.
According to the company’s annual report, Joyce earned a total of $5,575,000 through the fiscal year ending 30 June. That’s equivalent to a $287,000 pay bump compared to his earnings last year. The CEO also received a 21% increase to his base salary, as well as additional shares in the airline.
While it’s standard practice for companies to give their employees, including chief executives, a pay raise, some observers are questioning whether this was appropriate in Joyce’s case.
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Senator and Australian Labor Party member Tony Sheldon criticised Joyce’s pay bump given that Qantas has been struggling with flight cancellations all summer. These major disruptions have severely impacted the airline’s passengers for months.
In an interview with the Sydney Morning Herald, Sheldon called Qantas’ increase of the CEO pay as “offensive”.
Trouble at Qantas
Sheldon, a former official for the Transport Workers’ Union of Australia, said Qantas already had several flight cancellations over the past few months. Just recently, 4,000 passengers of the Qantas subsidiary Jetstar were left stranded after their flights were suddenly cancelled.
“It’s shameless that while thousands of people are stranded in Bali and everywhere else, he gives himself a massive payday,” Sheldon said.
The senator also pointed to Qantas’ controversial decision to terminate thousands of employees during the first few months of the Covid pandemic.
Despite these criticisms, Qantas is standing by its decision to increase its CEO pay. In a statement, the airline said it gave Joyce a pay raise after he voluntarily took reduced or no pay at all throughout the pandemic.
Qantas Chairman Richard Goyder once described Joyce as “the best CEO in Australia”.