Transport union has second win against Qantas for illegal sacking of workers
Posted On May 4, 2022
Qantas has lost its appeal in the Federal Court after it tried to overturn a ruling that it illegally outsourced 2000 ground and baggage staff.
The court unanimously upheld the decision that the airline breached the Fair Work Act when it axed the employees during the pandemic, in favour of cheaper outsourced staff.
The Transport Workers Union (TWU) has called on Qantas CEO Alan Joyce and key decision-maker in the case, CEO of Domestic and International Andrew David.
In November 30, 2020 Qantas made the decision at ten Australian airports to outsource ground handling operations that had been performed by its own employees.
The grounding of flights due to the COVID-19 pandemic further complicated the situation.
The TWU then commenced proceedings against the airline and on July 30, 2021, the Federal Court found Qantas had breached the Fair Work Act.
In February 2022 two appeals were heard and the court unanimously upheld the ruling.
Today the Federal Court dismissed all appeals from Qantas and upheld the ruling for a second time.
Further remedy hearings will now take place to determine compensation.
The TWU said it will fight for a substantial compensation package for workers who have lost lifelong careers after Qantas sacked them.
TWU National Secretary Michael Kaine has called for the sacking of Qantas executives.
“Through unity, resilience and determination, Qantas workers have achieved a huge victory,” he said today.
“After a horror 18 months having lifelong careers savagely and illegally ripped away from them, workers stood tall and took on one of the harshest and most powerful companies in the country.
“Today those workers have been heard, vindicated, and celebrated for their courage.”
Despite the ruling being upheld for a second time, Qantas said it will be appealing the judgement.
“Qantas has always said the decision to outsource our ground handling function was based on lawful commercial reasons in response to the unprecedented impact of the COVID crisis,” a statement from the airline read.
“Prior to the pandemic, Qantas was actively recruiting into its ground handling function and investing in new equipment – a sign that we had no intention of outsourcing.”