by Daniel Jones

Qantas has become the latest worldwide firm to roll out a redundancy scheme, having given 4,500 employees until the end of March to make up their minds over whether to take it or not.

The Australian airline was today (March 6th) set to issue staff with expressions of interest in redundancy, which effectively asks them whether they would like to leave their posts.

Australian Services Union New South Wales branch secretary Sally McManus told the Guardian workers have been given until the end of the month to decide, although those at Sydney international airport have only until March 21st.

She warned that the decision to offer redundancy has been taken rather hastily and this could lead to some poor moves being made.

However, Ms McManus promised that the union and Qantas will work together this afternoon in order to run the rule over the company’s plans to reduce its workforce, particular at the check-in desks at Sydney’s major airport.

Qantas is thought to have asked about 2,500 of its employees whether they would be interested in taking voluntary redundancy. In some cases, it’s also willing to offer a part-time role to staff.

“That doesn’t mean that all 2,500 will go. The number that leave the business will be much less than that. After employees have indicated if they want a voluntary redundancy, we will review the applications and consult with those employees,” explained a spokeswoman for the airline.

As with any company that takes steps to trigger a number of redundancies – whether voluntary or otherwise – within its ranks, Qantas must adhere to the regulations governing this particular step.

The spokeswoman for the carrier was keen to point out none of the affected staff would be leaving their posts within the next few weeks, as April and May have been set as the period during which action will be taken.ADNFCR-1645-ID-801701166-ADNFCR