November 4, 2022


The TWU has slammed Qantas management for swindling shareholders out of a genuine vote over Alan Joyce’s $8.7 million pay package while compensation to nearly 2000 illegally sacked workers is yet to be determined, an Australia-first workplace health and safety prosecution is afoot, and the airline’s reputation is in tatters.

Following two emphatic Federal Court decisions that Qantas broke the law in outsourcing nearly 2000 ground handling workers, the union said shareholders should today be given the opportunity to cast a genuine vote on:

  1. Whether to cease costly legal proceedings through a High Court appeal;
  2. Whether key outsourcing decisionmakers and leadership should receive a bonus;
  3. Whether illegally sacked ground handling workers should be reinstated to restore the airline’s safety and service standards;
  4. Whether Alan Joyce should receive an $8.7 million pay package for FY21-22, after the airline’s tumultuous year of findings of illegality, decimated service and brand damage;
  5. Whether he should resign before his scheduled departure in 2023; and
  6. The qualities and values a new CEO must have to repair the tarnished airline and build back trust with its workforce and the public.

Over the next two months, Qantas is due in court for 15 days total over a prosecution brought by SafeWork NSW and hearings to determine the compensation of nearly 2,000 illegally sacked ground-handling workers.

At today’s AGM, Qantas shareholders will be asked to take part in a futile vote on Alan Joyce’s participation in a retention and recovery bonus scheme. If approved, it would deliver 698,000 performance rights on shares to Alan Joyce, but if voted down will result in an equivalent cash payment of around $4 million.

TWU National Secretary Michael Kaine said shareholders are being denied their right to a say on ludicrous bonuses and drawn-out legal battles.

“Under Joyce, Qantas management has always focused on its shareholders at the expense of its workers and customers at great detriment to the airline, but now even shareholders are being swindled by the Qantas dictatorship.

“After Qantas became Australia’s worst-performing airline, received a second emphatic Federal Court ruling that it broke the law in sacking nearly 2000 workers, faced charges from SafeWork NSW in the first prosecution of its kind, and heard a chorus of voices calling for Joyce’s resignation, today’s AGM should be about honesty, integrity and rebuilding trust.

“Shareholders should have the opportunity to cast genuine votes on the future of the airline under a new CEO, the reinstatement of illegally sacked workers, and an appropriate performance-based bonus structure which reflects the past year of chaos.

“Whichever way shareholders vote today, Alan Joyce will walk away millions of dollars richer, despite having systematically trashed a once-iconic brand. Meanwhile, workers who have kept the airline afloat are still struggling after two years of wage freezes.

“We need the Federal Government to implement a Safe and Secure Skies Commission that can halt this obscene executive greed, and return the Spirit of Australia to customers, workers and stakeholders,” he said.


  • On 14th November, 10 days of hearings will open at the District Court of NSW following SafeWork NSW’s prosecution of Qantas over its standing down of a Health and Safety Representative who raised legitimate concerns about the exposure of workers to COVID-19.
  • Compensation hearings are due to begin in December over the illegal sackings of nearly 2000 ground handling workers. After this, the Federal Court is set to determine penalties to be paid by the airline for breaching the Fair Work Act.
  • On 18th November, the High Court will hear verbal submissions in relation to Qantas’ application for special leave to appeal the two findings of illegality.
  • Under Qantas’ bonus shares scheme, CEO of Qantas Domestic and International Andrew David, held responsible by the Federal Court for the illegal decision to sack almost 2000 ground workers, stands to gain over $1 million worth of shares.
  • Since the outsourcing, serious safety breaches have occurred at the budget labour providers engaged by Qantas to do ground and baggage work, including:
    – firearms unloaded onto baggage carousels,
    – dangerous goods loaded without the pilots’ knowledge
    – passenger stairs removed while doors still open
    – cargo doors left open
    – vehicle collisions with refueling hoses
    – vehicle collisions with planes, one leaving a gaping hole
    – weight imbalances

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