A THOUSAND Qantas workers are being damned to a year of fear and uncertainty after the national airline told investors that it would lose up to $300 million for the final six months of 2013, and slashing jobs would be part of its money-saving solution.
The 1000-person "head count reduction" would span 12 months.
Chief executive Alan Joyce and the Qantas board would cop pay cuts and executives would be given no pay rises or bonuses.
These initiatives were part of a strategy to cut $2 billion from Qantas spending within three years.
Mr Joyce said Australia's international aviation market "is the toughest anywhere in the world", pointing a finger of blame at competitors Virgin Australia which he said was being "generously supported" by its foreign owners.
Qantas is unique among its competition thanks to the Qantas Sale Act which deigns it to be 51% Australian-owned.
Virgin Australia recently took a $350 million splash of funding from owners Etihad, New Zealand and Singapore Airlines.
"The uneven playing field in Australian aviation is being tilted further," Mr Joyce said.
"We cannot and we will not stand still in these extraordinary circumstances."
Less than a week ago, Treasurer Joe Hockey criticised the Qanztas Sale Act, testing the idea of ditching the law and maybe providing the airline with government funds.
Following the bombshell dropped on Friday morning, the national response evolved quickly from shock to outrage to an all-in brawl.
Opposition Leader Bill Shorten said he would push the government to support these doomed staff, particularly with the news coming so close to Christmas.
Virgin Australia rejected allegations it was unfairly profiting from Qantas troubles, pointing to the flying kangaroo's nine capital-raising efforts in the past 10 years.
The Transport Worker's Union blamed the job losses on Mr Joyce's "lack of management", attacking Qantas for its outsourcing of workers and maintenance.
South Australian Independent Nick Xenophon demanded the resignation of both the chief executive and the board following this "crisis of their own making".
Giving a full stop to the day's events, Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss told reporters the Qantas Sale Act would likely remain and there was little hope for government aid for the embattled carrier.
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