1. Quantas strike: Airline executives receive death threats
Qantas boss Alan Joyce has received a death threat, managers have been sent menacing letters and strike-breaking workers bullied amid a bitter industrial dispute, the airline said Wednesday.
Qantas is facing industrial revolt from all three of its staff unions — the Transport Workers Union and those representing pilots and engineers — after announcing plans to cut 1,000 workers as it focuses business towards Asia.
The carrier said Joyce had been the victim of threats, without going into details, but one letter reportedly told the Irish chief executive: “It’s coming soon Paddy. You can’t even see it.”
“The Unions will fight you… Qantas is our airline, started & staffed by Australians, not foreign filth like you,” the Sydney Daily Telegraph reported the typed threat as reading in part.
The letter said Joyce’s “evil plans” would come back to haunt him and he would be kicked out of the country, the Telegraph reported.
The paper also said senior Qantas staff had their car windows smashed and houses damaged after refusing to strike.
A spokeswoman for the airline confirmed that Joyce had received a death threat but added: “We can’t go into any details.”
Qantas corporate affairs director Olivia Wirth, who admitted she had also received threats, said workers who chose not to take part in strike action had been bullied and intimidated.
Joyce said Qantas management had “received menacing correspondence, including to their homes” in what he described as “abhorrent, and illegal” acts.
“Those who are in the business of using threats, violence and intimidation to obtain their industrial ends should know this: these tactics are cowardly and deplorable,” Joyce wrote in a memo to 35,000 staff.
“They will not work. Anyone who is caught will face the full consequences.”
Unions are locked in protracted contract talks with Qantas and its Asia restructuring plans have inflamed tensions, with workers demanding guarantees on pay and conditions under the airline’s new strategy.
Qantas doubled its annual net profit to Aus$250 million ($239 million) in August and upped Joyce’s pay by 71 percent to Aus$5 million, angering staff facing job cuts.
But the unions denied any involvement in the threats and questioned Qantas’ decision to make them public.
Union officials have also been on the receiving end of threatening messages, Transport Workers Union (TWU) national secretary Tony Sheldon said.
Sheldon showed nine emails to reporters in Sydney, including one which read: “You lazy dirty bunch of scabs. Pulling strikes at this time of year has finally made all TWU members the most hated in the country.”
Another said: “The next bus leaves at midday BE UNDER IT.”
Australian Licenced Aircraft Engineers Association federal secretary Steve Purvinas said threatening behaviour was unacceptable and should be taken to the police.
He said it was “a possibility” the threats had been concocted to garner public support for the airline, which is considered a national icon.
“But I don’t think that Alan (Joyce) has written a letter to himself for that purpose,” he told ABC Radio.
Without naming the company or people involved, New South Wales police said they had investigated a threatening letter sent to a senior executive in May.
“The author was identified and the matter finalised,” a spokeswoman said.
Police were still investigating an incident last month in which an employee received a threatening letter and several phone calls at their home address which were hung up once answered, she said.
Officials are also attempting to confirm reports of malicious damage to cars at a company car park, she added.
2. I just needed 10 more seconds: Helicopter pilot tells of frantic battle to save British tourist who died after New York river crash
Paul Dudley was 'sentenced to five years in jail over 1979 safe theft'
Sonia Marra died and her parents and partner were injured in crash
Pilot's lawyer described experienced flier as 'in shock and full of regret'
Helicopter plunged upside down into cold waters of East River off Manhattan
Pilot: 'If I had 10 more seconds, I could have saved her'
Marra was celebrating her 40th and her relatives were pulled from river
Dudley also survived crash and had previously crash landed plane in 2006
Officials investigate whether broken rotor blade could have caused crash
3. World Cup Would Lift All Blacks Brand Past NZ$100 Million
A first Rugby World Cup title in 24 years would take the All Blacks brand value past NZ$100 million ($77 million), lifting New Zealand’s national team to the same level as top-20 European soccer clubs, according to Brand Finance Plc.
Should the All Blacks win the Oct. 23 World Cup final in Auckland, their brand valuation would rise by NZ$12 million to NZ$108 million on improved merchandising and sponsorship opportunities, said Brand Finance, which advises companies including brewer SABMiller Plc and bank Standard Chartered Plc.
“It’s about taking the next step up because I’m pretty sure the brand could work harder,” Tim Heberden, managing director, Brand Finance Australia, said in a telephone interview. “That next level of partnerships maybe need a bit of gloss from the trophy.”
The All Blacks have won three-quarters of their 481 Test matches since 1903, international rugby’s best win ratio. They took their only World Cup title in 1987 when the tournament was last played in New Zealand. Since then, the team has lost a final, three semifinals and a quarterfinal. They host Argentina in the last eight on Oct. 9 in Auckland.
While the All Blacks’ estimated NZ$96 million brand worth is dwarfed by the 412 million-pound ($638 million) valuation of record 19-time English soccer champion Manchester United, it places them on the fringe of Europe’s top-20 clubs.
Four-time European champion Ajax ranked 23rd last week in Brand Finance’s survey of the continent’s top 30 teams with an estimated brand value of 46 million pounds.
‘Against the Tide’
Rather than being reliant on World Cup success, the equity of the All Blacks is underpinned by a win ratio that’s crept up over 80 percent since rugby went professional in 1996 and their status as the game’s most-recognized marque, according to Simon Arkwright, chief executive officer of Wellington-based Sport Research Group.
“They’ve done that slightly against the tide in that while they’ve been the top-ranked team for basically the last 24 years, everybody is aware they haven’t had a little gold cup in the cabinet,” Arkwright said in a phone interview. “They’re pretty solid in terms of being the sport’s No. 1 brand.”
The biggest threat may come from South Africa, Arkwright added. The defending champion Springboks are seeking an unprecedented third title this month and face fellow two-time winner Australia in the quarterfinals.
When the All Blacks became the first New Zealand brand to gain one million Facebook followers in August, the Springboks’ page was the next-best among national rugby teams with about 390,000. More than 800,000 of the All Blacks fans came from overseas, the Wellington-based New Zealand Rugby Union said.
The All Blacks’ 10 sponsors include Adidas AG, Air New Zealand Ltd. and MasterCard Inc., according to their website. Adidas has sponsored the All Blacks since 1999 and three years ago extended its contract through 2019. Upon renewing the deal, Adidas CEO Herbert Hainer described them as “one of the most inspirational and talented sports teams in the world.”
“We’ve done exceptionally well despite our pretty average World Cup record,” Steve Tew, the NZRU’s CEO, said in a telephone interview. “If we were lucky enough, and good enough, to win this one, or any of the future World Cups, then that would enhance things.”
A victory in this month’s final at Eden Park in Auckland may help attract previously rugby-shy companies, Arkwright said.
“If you were to bring in a new partner that previously hadn’t occupied the rugby space, then a world championship would give more comfort at an executive or board level in terms of signing off on some big dollars,” Arkwright said.
Maximizing the All Blacks’ commercial potential is necessary in ensuring the game’s health at all levels in New Zealand and also requires a balancing act because of their heritage and place in society, Tew said.
“All Blacks rugby generally is a part of what New Zealand is,” said Ron Palenski, chief executive of the New Zealand Sports Hall of Fame in Dunedin. “Playing rugby is one of the few things that we’ve been able to do, historically, better than anyone else. It’s helped shaped the identity of New Zealanders more than most other things. The New Zealand Rugby Union is very well aware of going too far.”
Sponsors twice got it wrong in the World Cup buildup.
Adidas drew the ire of New Zealanders over what rugby fans said were exorbitant prices for All Blacks’ replica jerseys, while negative reaction forced Telecom Corp of New Zealand Ltd. to cancel a campaign encouraging New Zealanders to abstain from sex to show their support for the All Blacks. Telecom said it had “misjudged public feeling.”
“The financial opportunities are important and that does kind of feed all of the activities that the NZRU carry out,” Brand Finance’s Heberden said. “They can’t just sit back. They have to make sure that they push it as far as deemed to be reasonable.”
4. Brit holiday chaos: Thomas Cook cabin crew to strike?
Thomas Cook cabin crew are threatening an industrial strike following a breakdown in talks with management over redundancy packages.
Around 1,300 of Thomas Cook's 1,800 cabin crew will vote next week on whether to take industrial action.
Airports that would be affected include Belfast, Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, East Midlands Gatwick, Glasgow, Manchester, Newcastle, and Stansted.
Unite the Union said that 498 jobs face the axe, but it has been unable to agree redundancy terms with management, who, they say, 'point blank refused' its offer of two weeks per year redundancy pay.
Unite had originally requested a minimum of three weeks per year, plus a lump sum of £5,000 for each cabin crew member, who typically earns around £15,000 a year.
In a statement, Unite regional officer Mick Whitley said: 'The company was only interested in putting in place the building blocks for voluntary and compulsory redundancies.
'This has left Unite with no other alternative but to suspend the consultation talks and hold a consultative ballot with the Unite membership at Thomas Cook. The ballot will be conducted within the next week to gauge the feeling of our members.
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