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war, sars claim 1,400 qantas jobs

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    From ABC On-Line

    War, SARS claim 1,400 Qantas jobs
    Qantas is cutting 1,400 jobs as the war in Iraq and the SARS virus hit passenger numbers.

    In a statement issued today, the airline announced plans to retench 1,000 staff and eliminate another 400 positions through attrition.

    The airline also plans to convert 300 full-time roles into part-time jobs.

    Chief executive Geoff Dixon says he regrets the need for the cuts but the airline needs to shed the staff to stay competitive.

    Mr Dixon says further restructuring, including redundancies, cannot be ruled out.

    The union representing airline staff says it is hypocritical for Qantas to sack more than 1,000 staff when it is still likely to post a profit this year.

    Australian Services Union spokeswoman Linda White says Qantas has its priorities wrong.

    "The true measure of how difficult things are is going to be whether or not they pursue their purchase of Air New Zealand," Ms White said.

    "Frankly, it would seem to us making 1,000 Australians redundant is a fairly significant move when they're talking about multi-million dollars on a purchase of a share in Air New Zealand."

    Qantas shares dropped shortly after the announcement. By about 11:00am (AEST), the airline's shares were down 12 cents at $3.08, a slide of almost 4 per cent.
 
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