Union Sues Qantas Airways Over Massive Pandemic Layoffs and Wins 1

Union Sues Qantas Airways Over Massive Pandemic Layoffs and Wins

  • Qantas dismissed more than 2,000 ground handlers during the pandemic.
  • Qantas outsourced jobs to save money for the company.
  • Qantas recorded AU$18 billion ($13.2 billion) in revenue in 2019.

In a landmark decision, Australian federal court has sided with the Transport Workers Union in the case brought by TWU against Qantas Airways Limited.

The union took Australian airline giant to court after the outsourcing scandal saw over 2,000 Qantas employees laid off amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Union Sues Qantas Airways Over Massive Pandemic Layoffs and Wins

Qantas dismissed more than 2,000 ground handlers during the pandemic, whose roles were outsourced to save money for the corporation, which in 2019 recorded AU$18 billion ($13.2 billion) in revenue.

Justice Michael Lee said he was not convinced of the evidence put forth by Qantas – Australia’s most dominating airline – that the laying off of thousands of employees was not, at least in part, motivated by their union membership.

The TWU hired Josh Bornstein as its head lawyer to argue the airline’s actions contravened the Fair Work Act. The case was centered around claims that Qantas’s bullish moves – led by CEO Alan Joyce – were made to squash the union’s power in wage negotiations.

“The Federal Court has found for the first time that a major employer has sacked over 2,000 workers because it was seeking to deprive them of the ability to collectively bargain with the company for a new enterprise agreement,” said Bornstein.

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