Transport Workers' Union

The TWU has welcomed the $120 million settlement as good news for Qantas passengers, but says it is another reminder for illegally sacked Qantas workers that they’re at the bottom of the pile for the airline to which they were loyal for decades.

In September, the High Court ruled that Qantas illegally sacked 1700 workers during the pandemic, in unanimous agreement with two previous verdicts of the Federal Court and Full Court of Appeal.

At the end of last year, Qantas walked away from court-ordered mediation to attempt to reach a settlement on compensation and a penalty.

Illegally sacked workers were forced from their jobs between January and March 2021.

The compensation matter returned to the Federal Court in March, with Qantas attempting to minimise the amount it must pay by arguing it would have sacked and outsourced the workers later anyway. Closing remarks are scheduled for 20 May.

TWU National Secretary Michael Kaine said:

“This is good news for passengers misled by the appalling conduct of Qantas. Customers have suffered multiple times from being ripped off, dealing with flight cancellations, delays and lost baggage and even being blamed for airport chaos by Alan Joyce.

“Spare a thought for the 1700 Qantas families who weren’t just misled, but were illegally sacked, and are still waiting for justice more than three years later. Qantas dragged them through costly, unsuccessful appeals taking every legal point in the book through an army of expensive silks. In December, Qantas walked away from mediation to reach a settlement for the unlawfully axed workers. It’s another stark reminder of Joyce-led Qantas’ disdain for its own workforce.

“Justice delayed is justice denied. Illegally sacked workers need closure and compensation for some of the hardest years of their lives. Family breakdowns, houses lost, mental and physical health suffering. Qantas has a lot to answer for, and it must pay.

“The last few years have shone a spotlight on the awful, immoral business model at Qantas and the dire consequences for passengers, workers and taxpayers from an absence of regulation.

“Qantas is being held to account through a high court ruling on 1700 illegal sackings, a criminal conviction for discrimination under the Work Health and Safety Act, and a $120 million settlement with the ACCC. But hardworking people should not have to wait for bad actors to be penalised to hope that things will change. We need a Safe and Secure Skies Commission to set standards for aviation and rein in corporate greed that has destroyed the aviation industry.”

/Public Release. View in full here.