Australia is many decades behind New Zealand in coming to terms with globalisation. This was evident when, with the grounding of Qantas, the country’s personalities shouted naked racist slogans against Asia.
The phrase of the aftermath was ‘Asianisation’.
Mostly spluttered from the Transport Workers Union’s Tony Sheldon ‘stand by the workforce,’ the Australian brand of Qantas would not have it Asianised’.
The polemic rant of Dick Smith (the erstwhile electronic store chain chap) was memorable. “When I get my private jet serviced in Dubai, it is half the price of Australia because it is all bloody Filipino!” he said.
I know if these tirades were uttered in civilised New Zealand, the opportunists would be in a Fair-trade recycled doghouse. In Australia, they are championed.
These instinctively racist comments were a reaction to a longstanding dispute with Qantas management, who are planning to expand their outsourcing to Asia. The first dispute of this transition was in 2006, when the airline outsourced a fair size of its IT to Tata Consultancy Services to the loss of 300 Australian jobs.
Qantas Chief Executive Alan Joyce insists that if outsourcing is not allowed by the Unions, Qantas will not only half its fleet by this time next year but also ultimately perish.
This is true. A global business cannot survive by being hijacked by the local workforce that insists on being paid inflated wages out of sheer nationalism and sentimentality.
This hurts my unhinged lefty sentiments but it is a cold fact.
Australians were outraged by the decision of their airline to outsource some of its services but only 18% choose the airline to travel abroad because for $50 less, you get to travel on an airline with hostesses who do not resemble scrum props and do not have the charm of a country pub bouncer.
Asia does it better. If it is few dollars cheaper, fair dinkum working Aussie families feel the flying kangaroo can go and be made into Russian sausages.
It is no news that India is the world’s outsourcing capital. Although employing just 1% of the population, the outsourcing sector accounts for a huge share in the country’s GDP.
Indians have cornered the elliptical market, following the success of their business model with could be termed, ‘half the price, twice the size.’
India’s aircraft engineers will be candidates for the further Qantas outsourcing contracts. They already have an enormous IT contract with the company.
India could very well be the saviour of Australia’s greatest international brand.
Will India be the saviour of the sacred Holden?
In the very same week as the unprecedented news blitz of outsourcing woes for Qantas, Holden announced that several jobs would be lost to future outsourcing.
Could Tata be a manufacturing candidate? They would have to be as they have saved Jaguar land Rover.
That reminds us of the cultural challenges of outsourcing.
If you were a ‘Top Gear’ fan, you would have cringed at those pompous twits pontificating about their countries icons Land Rover and Jaguar being manufactured by an Indian company.
But Qantas shareholders don’t give two samosas. They voted overwhelmingly for Joyce’s plans because they want dividends and do not care if that bonus is dressed in a sari and has an accent.
Australian shareholders would make vegemite in a Kolkata hospice if it was cheaper and they thought they would get away with it.
I look forward to the global economy drowning these racists and dragging Australia kicking and whining into an Asian century.
A positive start would be for Joyce to bide by his vision and outsource the entire Qantas management to Asia.
For the company’s experiment with outsourcing to Ireland was a strange failure and no Indian CEO would ground his fleet voluntarily.
Roy Lange is a delightfully different Kiwi, living and working in Melbourne, Australia. His passion for India and anything Indian has won many hearts and ruffled many feathers.