In a ruling that was in favour of workers and the TWU, the Court confirmed what the TWU and workers long suspected: Qantas saw the pandemic as a “transformational opportunity” and that there was a “vanishing window of opportunity” to make significant changes to its workforce. Qantas grabbed the opportunity with both hands, deciding to illegally axe and outsource over 2,000 ground workers in the middle of the pandemic.
In typical fashion, Qantas won’t be told, they have decided to appeal, while the TWU is fighting for all workers to be reinstated or compensated as soon as possible. A recent TWU survey found that three quarters of outsourced workers have been unable to secure full-time work since they were sacked by Qantas, and 77% want their jobs back.
Qantas actions are an attack on a unionised workforce. It was an attack on workers prepared to fight for fair wages and decent standards at the airline.
Qantas managers were motivated by minimising costs to maximise profits and thought the company would get away with outsourcing work to third parties on low cost, take-it or leave-it arrangements because everyone was distracted by the pandemic. They were wrong and Qantas lost.
This decision is an incredible, once-in-a-generation win for the workers. It sends a clear message to the $11 million man Alan Joyce and the Qantas Board that they are not the Spirit of Australia, but rather, it’s the baggage handlers, ramp workers and cabin cleaners working hard each and every day that have built the trusted reputation of Qantas.
The TWU has launched a new campaign calling on the Qantas Board to do the right thing by the outsourced workforce, drop any plans for an appeal, and immediately reinstate or compensate affected workers.
You can show your support by signing the open letter to the Board here: