A non-paywalled article about the QF volunteer program.https://www.buzzfeed.com/hannahryan/qan ... Gq-fLvJikk
From what I gather, Qantas are wanting to do some marketing/PR activations at SYD international over the Christmas period, and want their staff to volunteer with this (with the offer of something like a gift voucher as a thank you for helping out). Plenty of businesses do similar, and they're often quite popular to do with staff as they get to do something a little different (as is this one from Qantas by the looks of it). They're not getting staff to take over doing the jobs of frontline staff.
It's hardly the wage theft the ASU are carrying on about.
I wouldn't have a problem if they were volunteering to cover shifts and being paid at the same rate as the staff at the airport, they were just being released from HQ positions as they werent required or if they were there to carry out PR duties like the Westjet video but most of the duties listed are CSA duties the only PR type duties I can see are distributing chocolates and handing out colouring kits for kids. These volunteers would only be paid if their shift is under their normal working hours if not it would be unpaid - not a good look for a company announcing record profits.
The volunteers would be taking away positions from CSAs that would normally be paid shift loadings, overtime or penalty rates to cover these shifts.
Nothing in that e-mail indicates they're taking away shifts from paid staff. For starters, the office staff wouldn't be trained in frontline duties, and would therefore be more of a hinderance than a help if they were going to jump behind a check-in counter, or a gate counter, and perform the duties of a trained frontline worker.
Most of the 'customer enquiries/assistance' will probably be side questions a passenger asks while they're getting water, or chocolate from the volunteer staff. If a QF staff member comes up to you offering chocolate, for example, it's a good chance to ask something like, 'Where's the nearest toilet?' or 'What's the best way to gate 43', for example. Or it might be something like having a couple of extra volunteers help people tag their own bags during queue spikes - something you don't need to roster someone on for a full shift, but something you could get a volunteer to do for 10 minutes while doing the PR activities. The volunteers will be complementing the frontline staff (which Qantas will already have stocked up on for the Christmas rush), not taking over their duties.
Also, no one is being asked to do this for free. If they're on an award wage, they'll still get paid to help out. If they're on a salary, they're not losing any money by doing this, but might be able to bank a couple of hours of TIL to use later in the year by doing this.