Administrators quit role at Aussie airline

The Australian Council of Trade Unions claimed it was not appropriate for PwC to continue because of what it claims is a conflict of interest. Another part of the Big Five firm reportedly worked for Ansett’s parent company Air New Zealand on a separate matter. This perceived conflict led the ACTU to call for different administrators. Andersen has now been appointed to the role.

PwC accountant Allan Watson said the firm had to quit because it was not possible to continue without co-operation from the unions.

‘The resignation has occurred following discussions with the ACTU during which they explained that the major unions preferred an alternative administrator,’ Watson said.

Ansett went into administration last week after it fell victim to the global slowdown in the world economy and a deal with a potential buyer fell through. It had been expected that Quantas would buy Ansett giving it a 90% market share in Australia. Under normal circumstances competition rules would not have permitted the take-over, but with rising job losses regulators saw no other alternative.

The airline was then grounded, leaving some 45,000 passengers stranded.

But administrators had hoped to throw Ansett’s 17,000 employees a lifeline this week and told them to be ready to return to work. But the latest news casts doubt on any deal PwC may have been close to securing and puts travellers and workers back in limbo while Andersen takes up responsibility.


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