Qantas loses Federal Court appeal against outsourcing

Written by: Samantha Payne |
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Qantas has lost its appeal at the Federal Court to overturn a ruling that it sacked thousand of workers illegally.

On Wednesday 4 May, the full court unanimously upheld the ruling that Qantas breached the Fair Work Act by outsourcing workers, denying their rights for industrial action.

TWU National Secretary Michael Kaine said: “This is an emphatic ruling – a unanimous decision from four Federal Court judges. Qantas executives deliberately targeted and attacked workers and broke the law in sacking them to prevent them exercising their rights. Safety, service and sentiment for the airline have all plummeted over this unlawful decision to outsource."

Qantas says that the outsourcing decision was based "on lawful commercial reasons in response to the unprecedented impact of the Covid-19 crisis."

“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.”

The TWU is now calling on the Qantas Board to sack Qantas CEO Alan Joyce and key decision-maker in this case, CEO of Domestic and International Andrew David after Qantas was found twice to have broken the law in sacking 2,000 workers.

Kaine continued: "Through unity, resilience and determination, Qantas workers have achieved a huge victory. 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."

Further hearings will take place to determine the compensation Qantas should pay to workers in addition to penalties for 2,000 illegal sackings. The TWU has vowed to fight for a substantial compensation package for workers.

However, Qantas will be asking the court to stay any further hearings on the issue of compensaion or penalties until after the High Court process.

It follows SafeWork NSW is also prosecuting Qantas over it stopped a cleaner from working after he challenged the airline's Covid cleaning practices in 2020.

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