Last year the Federal Court of Australia ruled that Qantas’ outsourcing of ground work during the pandemic was illegal, arguing that the company had failed to prove that the mass redundancies were partly intended to deter future industrial action.
The High Court upheld the decision on Wednesday, unanimously rejecting Qantas’ appeal.
The Transport Workers’ Union (TWU), which took Qantas to court over the redundancies, welcomed the decision and called for the company’s board to be replaced.
Former chief executive Alan Joyce resigned last week after 15 years, cutting his tenure short at a time when Qantas’ reputation was under attack despite higher profits for shareholders.
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“Joyce has been ousted, but the airline cannot carry out the real reset it needs to survive with the same board of directors that presided over the largest illegal dismissal case in “Australian business history”, replied TWU. National Secretary Michael Kaine.
Qantas said it “acknowledges and accepts” the High Court’s ruling.
“As we’ve said from the beginning, we deeply regret the personal impact the outsourcing decision has had on everyone involved, and we sincerely apologize,” he said in a statement.
“The decision to outsource […] Taken in August 2020, when borders were closed, lockdowns were in place and there was no vaccine against Covid,” the agency said.
“The potential for years of crisis has led Qantas to restructure its operations to improve its ability to survive and recover,” he said.
There have been allegations that the airline has already inflated ticket prices and sold tickets for already canceled flights.
The company’s management is suspected of pressuring the government to prevent Qatar Airways from providing more flights to Australia.
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