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QANTAS FAILS IN SECOND ATTEMPT TO DELAY REMEDY HEARINGS

September 21, 2021

The TWU has welcomed the Federal Court’s decision to deny a stay application put forward by Qantas to delay remedy hearings until the conclusion of its appeal over the outsourcing of 2000 workers.

The TWU opposed the stay, arguing that it could prejudice workers by reducing the likelihood of reinstatement due to business changes at Qantas in the intervening period, and giving certainty to workers sooner, who would otherwise move on and find alternative employment to pay the bills.

By denying the stay, Justice Perram agreed with the union that Qantas’ argument based on preventing court costs was unreasonable, as costs are a risk taken on by both parties in any Fair Work case. Such costs by no means outweigh the prejudice workers would have suffered had a stay been granted.

TWU National Secretary Michael Kaine said Qantas could easily avoid court costs by dropping its costly appeal.

“The truth is, Qantas has deep pockets when it comes to paying legal fees, which are simply forecasted as the cost of doing business. The airline deliberately operates on the verge of lawlessness, challenging those it mistreats to take it on in costly court battles it knows impact its opponents more severely.

“The problem is Qantas’ deep pockets are currently filled with no-strings corporate welfare from the public purse. Meanwhile, the vast majority of workers cut loose by Qantas still have no income and just want their jobs back. This is the second failed attempt in as many weeks by Qantas to delay a reinstatement hearing and drag out the suffering of families it wronged.

“Workers deserve an answer on where the tight-lipped Prime Minister has been hiding throughout this ordeal. Not once has Morrison condemned Qantas’ actions and the public funding has continued to run like a tap, so the airline has of course persisted in its abuse of workers,” he said.

A date for the remedy hearings will be set when the parties meet again in court on 1 October. The matter of reinstatement to this scale of 2000 workers has never before been dealt with in the Australian Federal Court, highlighting the monumental triumph of workers.

Qantas also sought expedited leave to appeal, unopposed by the union which wants certainty for its members as soon as possible. Appeal hearings are now scheduled for February 2021.

On Friday, Qantas’ financial results posted to the ASX revealed that in the same year it illegally outsourced over 2000 workers and enforced unilateral wage freezes for the second year running, CEO Alan Joyce enjoyed a pay rise in his take-home pay to $2 million and an offer of $3.7 million in performance-based bonuses. The top six executives received a total of $13.6 million in base salary.

In July, the Australian Council of Superannuation Investors’ annual report on CEO pay showed Alan Joyce earned a total ‘realised pay’ package of $10.74 million in FY2020.