Twu: Qantas cash splash announcements ‘tone-deaf’ after illegal sackings verdict

Transport Workers' Union

The TWU has slammed Qantas for its tone-deaf announcement that it will acquire Alliance Airlines less than 24 hours after it was found unanimously by four Federal Court judges to have illegally sacked its entire ground and baggage workforce.

TWU National Secretary Michael Kaine said this week’s announcements of $38 billion spent on planes and $614 million on acquisition will bring no comfort to the families of 2,000 workers illegally sacked nor to passengers still awaiting refunds and lost luggage.

“Qantas’ cash splash PR stunts are tone-deaf in light of yesterday’s emphatic ruling that it broke the law in sacking 2000 ground and baggage workers, leading to mayhem at airports.

“Callous Qantas executives have shown utter disregard for the families they destroyed through this illegal sacking. Recently, Qantas’ own customers have experienced similar indifference for their feelings and financial position. First, passengers were blamed for long airport delays, now they see Qantas grabbing media headlines for splashing billions of dollars while many Australians are still out of pocket for cancelled flights, are waiting for lost or damaged luggage, and have little means to raise complaints.

“Does Qantas really expect the public to have forgotten that it cried poor when attempting to deny it sacked workers under the cover of covid? Either this is a tactic to empty the coffers ahead of a hefty compensation bill, or management is simply deliriously out of touch with public sentiment towards the airline.

“The Qantas board must see the writing on the wall: sack Alan Joyce and Andrew David, or see the Qantas brand torn to shreds.

“This is what happens when the Morrison Government hands out billions in no-strings corporate welfare with no guarantee of service or safety for taxpayers.

“Future-proofing aviation will not be achieved by PR announcements. It requires a national aviation plan to repair the devastation caused by overpaid Qantas executives and the loss of thousands of skilled workers Morrison failed to help retain. We need a Safe and Secure Skies Commission to ensure the Australian community has an aviation industry it can rely on,” Kaine said.

Workers and their families are facing significant hardship following the illegal sackings.

“The Federal Court result was a bittersweet moment. We’ve had a win, but we have suffered many losses. I’ve had to sell my home and move out of Sydney because my family can no longer afford to live here. Many of my friends and colleagues are in the same boat, we can’t get roles in the airport, we seem to be blacklisted since Qantas sacked us,” said Graham MacKay, outsourced baggage worker.

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