Uneasy peace might get to fly

Uneasy peace might get to fly

Almost two years after war broke out between Qantas and key unions, it appears a form of detente has been achieved. While it's not exactly all-out peace, at least the two sides are talking.

CBD learns that Qantas brass, including boss Alan Joyce, chief bean counter Gareth Evans, and senior executives Simon Hickey and Lyell Strambi, met their union nemeses on Thursday last week.

On the other side of the table were ACTU secretary Dave Oliver (who managed to take time from Labor's own war on the leadership), Australian Services Union stalwart Linda White, Australian Manufacturing Workers Union head Glenn Thompson and reps from the pilots' union, the Transport Workers Union and the Flight Attendants' Association.

The secret meeting originally was due to be held at Qantas' de facto head office in the Deutsche Bank building in Sydney's CBD but was rescheduled to the official bunker in Mascot.

Focus of the two-hour gabfest was the likely implications of the Emirates alliance on the Qantas workforce - who is likely to be the next casualty of a slimmed Roo?

The chat was said to be cordial but bereft of cups of tea, Iced VoVos and party pies (though we're told Qantas did provide jugs of water).

Joyce and his helpers, including veteran strike-buster Ian Oldmeadow and Sue Bussell, did answer questions, but it appears the union leaders weren't any the wiser by the time they walked out.

For cold cash

With temperatures near freezing, CEOs from across industries donned hoodies, beanies and thick gloves as part of the 2013 Vinnies CEO Sleepout charity event.

The sleepout on Thursday night in all the capital cities raised more than $3 million for those who don't have a warm bed at night.

The top fund-raiser was Holly Kramer, CEO of Best & Less, who raised more than $140,000. Bankers Matt Comyn, of CBA, and George Frazis, of St George, and Paul Nicolaou, of the Australian Hotels Association, were among the top fund-raisers in NSW.

In Victoria, Neville Moller, of Dorevitch Pathology, Tony Barber, of Willis Australasia, and Timothy Collyer, of Growthpoint Properties Australia, were the top money raisers.

Frigid frolics

The ice was even thicker on Wednesday night in Canberra but it was heating up in Parliament House's Great Hall for the annual Midwinter Ball. CBD dusted off the black tie (circa 2003) and slipped in through a side door.

Most notable was Nationals senator Barnaby Joyce carving up the dance floor. Fresh from the New Newscorp demerger was a parade of the company's finest, including the New News' newish Australian boss Kim Williams holding court with old Labor stalwarts Simon Crean and Tanya Plibersek.

Head Telstra operator David Thodey was showing shadow treasurer Joe Hockey how to use the new NBN smartphone app.

It was all too loud for Kevin Rudd, who left early, but Prime Minister Julia Gillard kept her parting words for Alan Jones: "You can't drown witches."

Goal in sight

Linc Energy boss Peter Bond is a step closer to corporate seats at Stamford Bridge during next season's English Premier League, after signing an accord with a company linked to Chelsea Football Club owner Roman Abramovich.

Bond and Abramovich have been flirting over a gas deal for some time, and they took a very preliminary step forward on Thursday when their companies signed a "letter of intent" that "outlines principles" that will "guide future discussions" on the "negotiation of final commercial terms" for a gas joint venture.

In short, the two companies are considering a joint venture to try Linc's underground coal gasification technology on acreage in north-eastern Russia.

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