April 18, 2023

Another shonky gong for Qantas

After being given a “Shonky” award for being the “Spirit of Disappointment” at the end of 2022, Qantas has earned another feather in its cap: it was the most complained-about company in 2021-2022.

The Spirit of Australia has been decimated under the Qantas dictatorship. Rather than rewarding workers who’ve brought the airline roaring back to $1.4 billion in half-yearly profits, it’s instead announced swanky lounge upgrades. It has also announced a recruitment drive to bring back cabin crew formerly employed on Qantas Airways Limited agreements into Qantas’ subsidy companies – with lower pay and conditions. 

All the while, it refuses to reinstate the 1700 workers it illegally sacked.

It’s clear from the 68% increase in complaints about Qantas that the public can see right through shiny announcements about lounge upgrades that aim to distract from profit-hungry executives.

In light of the company’s strong financial results, the TWU wrote to the Qantas board requesting an urgent meeting to discuss:

  • The succession plan for the Qantas CEO, including essential criteria for skills, experience and attitude towards the workforce and customers
  • The reinstatement of the 1700 workers who were illegally sacked, and
  • Qantas’ responsibilities for safe, secure jobs

Challenging Qantas as the ‘economic employer’

Joyce’s management team have led a destructive strategy to push workers in essential jobs outside of the airline. This is so that they can pull strings and dictate wages from afar, without having to bargain directly with workers. In other words, they may no longer be the direct employer but are the ‘economic employer’ of workers getting Qantas planes in the air.

Aviation workers are fighting back.

Ground workers engaged by Qantas through Menzies, Dnata and Swissport which picked up outsourced work have stood together to fight for fair pay increases and strong conditions, moving the dial considerably from the terms initially pushed by the companies.

We’re also soon to return to the High Court to continue our strong fight against Qantas’ illegal outsourcing, with Workplace Relations Minister Tony Burke intervening in the case and supporting our position.

What we’ve seen from Qantas has shown us that the company can’t be trusted to act in workers’ and customers’ best interests. That’s why we continue our calls for the Federal Government to put in place a Safe and Secure Skies Commission for a fairer aviation industry.


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