February 21, 2024


The TWU has welcomed the appointment of new Qantas Chairman John Mullen as a sign that the airline has finally understood the importance of listening to workers, rather than going to war with them.

The union worked constructively with Mullen during his tenure as Chair of transport operator Toll Holdings from 2017 to 2022 and praised his open-door approach to the interests and concerns of the workforce.

The announcement comes one week before a District Court of NSW hearing to determine penalties on Qantas for illegally targeting and standing down a trained health and safety representative during covid.

In four weeks, illegally sacked Qantas workers will return to the Federal Court after Qantas walked away from court-ordered talks with the TWU on compensation and penalties.

The TWU has called on Qantas to cooperate fully in the hearings and reverse the dismissive, untouchable attitude it brought to the Federal Court, Full Court of Appeal and High Court.

TWU National Secretary Michael Kaine said:

“This announcement is a glimmer of hope for workers forced into the trenches for 15 years by the dictatorial approach of the Joyce-Goyder leadership team.

“Workers never relented in holding to account the brutal, irresponsible decisions to split the workforce across 38 different entities, including through mass illegal sackings. It’s a testament to their ongoing fight that the airline has been dragged to a new approach.

“This is the first sign we’ve had that Qantas has finally recognised the task ahead requires a seismic shift in culture, leadership and approach to unionised workers. The Chair plays a critical role in establishing and fostering the culture in companies. John Mullen has a track record of the earnest determination and openness required to steer the ship back towards the cherished icon Qantas once was.

“The scale of devastation wrought by Qantas with Goyder as Chair, and the denials he perpetually repeated about illegal decision-making, shows the importance of having the right person for the job.

“As compensation hearings loom for the illegal treatment of a health and safety rep and the illegal sackings of 1700 workers, we need to see more signs like this that Qantas has finally seen the light and is prepared to change.”

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