Qantas has lost its High Court Appeal over sacking its employees. Image: Getty

Qantas Loses High Court Appeal Over Sacking Workers

Qantas has lost its High Court Appeal and has been found to illegally sack more than 1,600 workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The High Court judgment has upheld the Federal Government’s two rulings which found the airline’s outsourcing of baggage handlers, cleaners and ground staff was unlawful.

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Jobs at 10 airports were outsourced, with Qantas backing its decision for commercial reasons as business dropped by more than 90 per cent.

The Transport Workers’ Unit told the High Court Qantas had also been motivated to head off industrial action when the pandemic subsided.

Speaking to media following the ruling, the union’s national secretary Michael Kaine demanded Qantas’ new chief executive, Vanessa Hudson to immediately compsenate affected staff.

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“Qantas workers have made history today. It has been three years and 20 days since Alan Joyce first announced the decision to outsource these workers, and they have not stopped fighting for a moment to ensure justice was served,” he said.

“The final act of this board should be to strip Alan Joyce of his bonuses and follow him out the door.

“The Joyce regime has been toppled, but the airline cannot achieve the reset necessary for its survival under the same board that resided over the largest case of illegal sackings in Australian corporate history.”

Qantas accepted the decision by the High Court and apologised for the “personal impact” the sackings had caused on former employees.

“Borders were closed, lockdowns were in place and no COVID vaccine existed,” the statement said.

“The likelihood of a years-long crisis led Qantas to restructure its business to improve its ability to survive and ultimately recover.”

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