Justice Darryl Rangiah on Friday ruled airport services company Aerocare, now called Swissport Australia, can’t require employees to work split shifts following a series of disputes in the Fair Work Commission.
In his ruling, the judge dismissed Aerocare’s application to declare that split shifts are not prohibited under the employment award and workers are not entitled to overtime rates or recall penalties for the shifts.
Aerocare’s part-time employees perform ground handling duties such as baggage and cargo handling and check-in assistance.
The ruling has been welcomed by the Transport Worker’s Union with its acting national secretary saying it’s an "important win" to ensure safety and security at airports.
"This judgment implies that airport workers should not be used and abused by their employers, brought in for three-hour shifts at a time and forced to sleep on dirty floors, behind baggage carousels," Nick McIntosh said in a statement on Friday.
The legal action follows claims in 2017 that some staff at Sydney Airport were forced to sleep in makeshift "camps" in baggage handling areas in between shifts.
Aerocare later said an investigation by the company, the Australian Border Force and officials from Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth airports found the claims were without foundation.