Andrew Burnes, the CEO and Managing Director of Helloworld Travel, has sent personalised emails to Helloworld workers asking them to agree to accept a pay cut.
The email does not provide details regarding the extent of the proposed pay cut – that job was handballed to the company’s Head of HR who will provide details of the proposal later this week. Andrew simply asked workers to accept an undisclosed pay cut from the end of March (when JobKeeper concludes) until the end of 2021.
It is unlawful for Helloworld to demand that workers accept a pay cut, or exert pressure on workers to influence their response. If you have received an email from Andrew Burnes, you do not have to accept the proposed pay cut.
The USU/ASU is concerned that Helloworld did not attempt to consult with the union prior to rolling out the proposed pay cuts. In doing so, the company has likely breached its obligations under the Helloworld Services Pty Limited Agreement 2015 and the Australian Services Unions (Qantas Holidays Limited) Agreement 3 to consult with employees and the ASU about major workplace changes.
Management claims to be in this together
In his email, Andrew Burnes attempts to justify his request for workers to accept a pay cut by referring to the Board and senior management having “accepted significant salary cuts to help manage our costs during 2020”. Andrew did not provide any details of what his salary looked like in 2020. According to Helloworld’s 2019/2020 Annual Report, the USU/ASU understands that Andrew Burnes received $588,755 in executive remuneration in the 2019/20 financial year. Cinzia Burnes, Executive Director of Helloworld and Andrew’s wife, received $552,602.
In addition, the Annual Report reveals and Travel Daily reported on 24/03/2020 that the Board of Helloworld considered it appropriate to pay over $3.5 million in dividends to Andrew, Cinzia and their trusts and associated entities. The USU/ASU understands that this occurred in March 2020 – at the same time Helloworld was standing down and terminating the employment of many workers.
Asking workers to accept pay cuts when the CEO Andrew Burnes, his wife Cinzia and their associated trusts and entities took over $4.6 million from the company in the most recent financial year is hardly being in this together.
It is unacceptable for the company to try to enforce pay cuts by making agreements with individual workers without consulting the union. The USU/ASU will write to Helloworld demanding an urgent meeting to discuss the proposed pay cuts, and will organise a caucus with members before any meeting occurs.
If you receive any emails from Andrew Burnes or anyone else at Helloworld about cutting your pay, please forward these emails to your local organiser.
Time to join the union!
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For more information contact your interim USU Organiser Mick Jones on 0450 020 589 or firstname.lastname@example.org