April 24, 2024

Euro Global Post- Latest News and Analysis | UK News | Business News

European news, UK news, political news, breaking news, lifestyle and entertainment news.

Qantas unlawfully terminated 1,700 employees amid the pandemic, according to the highest court.

Australia’s highest court has firmly rejected Qantas’ efforts to overturn a verdict that found the airline guilty of unlawfully outsourcing 1,700 jobs during the COVID-19 pandemic. In a unanimous and resounding decision, the court upheld the earlier ruling, which deemed Qantas in violation of Australia’s Fair Work Act, a critical piece of legislation designed to protect the rights of employees.

The controversy revolved around Qantas’ contentious decision to terminate baggage handlers and cleaners at ten airports across the nation in November 2020. This period coincided with Australia’s stringent border closures and a precipitous decline in business within the airline industry due to the pandemic. Qantas, while expressing regret over the job cuts, vigorously defended them as a necessary survival measure given the severe financial challenges it faced.

The High Court of Australia, while acknowledging that Qantas had what were deemed “sound commercial reasons” for its actions, ultimately found that these actions had a detrimental impact on workers’ rights. Specifically, it was determined that the airline’s actions had stripped employees of their ability to partake in protected industrial actions and negotiations, a clear violation of their rights.

This landmark ruling was met with jubilation by workers and labour unions, who had long seen this legal battle as a classic “David versus Goliath” confrontation. The Transport Workers’ Union, a prominent advocate for the affected employees, even called for a comprehensive overhaul of Qantas’ board, advocating for the inclusion of new directors, including representatives of the workers.

Michael Kaine, the national secretary of the union, didn’t mince words, characterising Qantas’ actions as “the largest illegal mass dismissal in Australian history” and revealing that the affected workers would now seek compensation through legal avenues.

Qantas had faced public outrage in the weeks leading up to this court decision with allegations of misconduct during the pandemic, including the sale of tickets for flights that had already been cancelled and supporting government measures that critics argue stifled competition by restricting Qatar Airways’ expansion in the Australian market.

In response to these controversies, Alan Joyce, the former CEO of Qantas, announced his early departure from the company. Vanessa Hudson, his successor and the first female leader of the airline, vowed to take on the task of rebuilding the airline’s tarnished reputation.