DALLAS — Qantas Airways (QF) has been found guilty by Australia’s top court of unlawfully terminating nearly 1,700 ground workers during the pandemic, dealing another blow to the airline’s already tarnished reputation.
The High Court of Australia recently dismissed QF’s’ appeal against a previous judgment that ruled the airline’s actions illegal. As a result, Qantas now faces penalties and compensation payments to the affected employees.
This ruling comes shortly after Australia’s competition regulator filed a lawsuit against the airline, accusing QF of selling fake seats on numerous flights that had already been canceled. The CEO of Qantas, Alan Joyce, decided to step down earlier than planned due to these allegations.
Following the court’s decision, Michael Kaine, the National Secretary of the Transport Workers Union, called for the resignation of QF Chairman Richard Goyder and the entire board of the airline. The annual general meeting of QF is scheduled for November 3.
Kaine emphasized that there should be serious consequences for the airline, describing its actions as a “spiteful corporate dictatorship.” He demanded that CEO Alan Joyce forfeit his bonus and urged his successor, Vanessa Hudson, to apologize and ensure compensation for the workers affected by the unlawful terminations.
Qantas, in response, released a statement accepting the High Court’s decision. The airline defended its decision to outsource the remaining ground handling function, stating that it was made during a time of closed borders, lockdowns, and the absence of a COVID-19 vaccine. QF believed that restructuring its business was necessary for survival and eventual recovery from the prolonged crisis.
Featured image: Qantas Airbus A380-800 (VH-OQA). Photo: Tony Bordelais/Airways