Qantas Airways Limited

Affected Workers

Nearly 1700 ground staff

Legal Context

Breach of the Fair Work Act for illegal outsourcing

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The Transport Workers Union (TWU) is taking legal action against Qantas, seeking millions in compensation for nearly 1700 ground staff whose jobs were unlawfully outsourced during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Federal Court is set to hear test cases to determine the appropriate compensation.


Qantas outsourced the roles of ground staff at 10 Australian airports in 2020, aiming to save over $100 million annually. However, the Federal Court ruled this action as a breach of the Fair Work Act, a decision upheld by the High Court in September.

Compensation Hearings

The Federal Court will examine three test cases to assess suitable compensation levels, with the TWU’s lawyer, Josh Bornstein, indicating that the payouts could be in the millions. The hearings will address whether the workers would have remained employed if not for the outsourcing.

Impact on Workers

Affected workers, like Don Dixon, express hope for fair compensation, highlighting the personal hardships, including property losses and family issues, resulting from their job loss.

Legal Proceedings

During the hearings, Justice Michael Lee criticized the union’s delay in bringing an additional compensation claim related to lost membership fees. The court aims to expedite the process to allow workers to receive their compensation swiftly.

Qantas’s Stance

While Qantas expresses regret over the impact of its decision on former employees, it emphasizes its intention to ensure that the workers receive fair compensation promptly.

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