March 15, 2024


On Monday, the Federal Court will commence up to two weeks of compensation hearings for 1700 illegally sacked Qantas workers, after the airline walked away from mediation at the end of last year.

The matter returned to the Federal Court after the High Court unanimously rejected Qantas’ attempt to overturn the verdicts of the Federal Court and Full Court of Appeal that it had illegally sacked the workers.

Three test cases, each with a different set of circumstances, will be heard by the Federal Court to determine compensation outcomes.

Qantas has reported $3.72 billion underlying profit over the last 18 months of financial reporting. The airline has come under fire for unlawful treatment of workers, price-gouging, and allegations of selling ghost flights.

Last week, Qantas was the first company to ever receive a criminal conviction for discrimination under the Work Health and Safety Act over the targeting and standing down of Health and Safety Representative Theo Seremetidis during the pandemic.

Qantas was fined $250,000 for the breach of the WHS Act and agreed to pay $21,000 in compensation to Mr Seremetidis, $15,000 of which was for hurt and humiliation.

One year after he was illegally stood down, Mr Seremetidis was illegally outsourced with his co-workers.

TWU National Secretary Michael Kaine said:

“It’s been three years since illegally sacked workers were forced to leave their jobs. They’ve been through unimaginable turmoil, and they must be fairly compensated.

“The unprecedented scale of this compensation case reflects the enormity of Qantas’ wrongdoing – by a country mile the largest case of illegal sackings in Australian corporate history.

“Despite the Federal Court, Full Court of Appeal and High Court unanimously ruling the outsourcing was illegal, Qantas has maintained that it did nothing wrong. Alan Joyce said he had no regrets – ‘not at all’. Richard Goyder praised the ethics of the board. Qantas has never ceased to inflict hurt and humiliation on these workers.

“The conduct of Qantas shows why we need independent oversight of aviation through a Safe and Secure Skies Commission to restore good, secure jobs and quality standards.”

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