May 2, 2019


A TWU survey of over 400 airline cabin crew last year showed 65% of respondents had experienced sexual harassment, with one in five crew reporting more than 10 incidents of sexual harassment.

Four out of five cabin crew experienced sexual harassment from co-workers while three out of five experienced it from passengers. Almost 70% said they did not report the incident with many (56%) saying they did not think it would be handled appropriately, and others (39%) even saying that they feared reporting it would make the situation worse.

Following our survey, Qantas carried out an investigation, which confirmed high rates of sexual harassment and chronically low levels or reporting – just 3% of incidents were reported.

This proves the need for widespread reform including training and an overhaul of ineffective reporting processes. The TWU is working with cabin crew to hold airlines to account for their safety, ensuring policies are implemented and reporting processes offer the right protections for workers to come forward.


Next Steps

Now that the lid has been blown on the airline industry, we need to ensure airlines are taking appropriate action to address sexual harassment and protect workers from harm. Here are some ways the TWU is responding:

  • we made a submission to the Australian Human Rights Commission national inquiry into sexual harassment in Australian workplaces (results of the inquiry are due to be released in early 2020)
  • we supported the UN’s International Labour Organisation’s convention on sexual harassment which set global standards for addressing the issue in workplaces
  • we’ve drafted a set of principles and model clause for EAs, which is being negotiated in our cabin crew agreements with Qantas and Virgin Australia
  • we’ve set up a consultative working group of cabin crew to discuss issues and solutions
  • we’re still gathering evidence, if you want to share an experience, you can use the form on the top right of this page.

Here are the full results of our survey:

Over 400 cabin crew reveal high rates of sexual harassment at work

Over 400 cabin crew reveal high rates of sexual harassment at work

Support is available should you need it – contact 1800 RESPECT on  1800 737 732 or speak to your TWU branch.

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