Qantas sacked 1,700 workers over loudspeaker in lunchroom
- Qantas workers were abruptly sacked
- The High Court has ruled that it was illegal
An illegally sacked Qantas worker has revealed that 1,700 staffers were told they’d be losing their jobs over the PA system in the break room.
Don Dixon, a former ramp supervisor, recalled the moment when he found out he’d lose his job during an interview on A Current Affair on Wednesday night.
Mr Dixon had nothing but love for the company he’d spent more than 20 years working for, until new management came in.
‘I absolutely loved Qantas. It was a fantastic company to work for until Joyce took over,’ Mr Dixon told ACA Host Allison Langdon.
The interview came hours after Australia’s High Court ruled that the once-loved airline had illegally sacked employees during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Former Qantas ramp supervisor Don Dixon told A Current Affair that almost 1,700 workers told they were going to be sacked over the loud speaker in the lunch room
The Australian High Court found that the airliner had illegally terminated the jobs in the Covid-19 pandemic on Wednesday (pictured: former-CEO Alan Joyce)
Workers in the lunch room at the time of the announcement were told that they would have three months until they were out of the job, according to Mr Dixon.
‘They could have mailed something, but I don’t think they would have paid for the stamp,’ Mr Dixon said.
‘Over the loudspeaker, in the lunch room, we were all together. It was just a brutal moment.’
Mr Dixon, a union delegate, said on Wednesday that it was the first day that he had heard his colleagues happy since their sacking.
‘We were a small part of history today – we won – we did it,’ he said.
The monumental move by Qantas to let go 1,683 of its staffers during the pandemic was one of the largest sackings in Australian corporate history.
Lifetime employees of the airliner had struggled to find work after the move, as they had a very specific skillset which didn’t translate to other careers well.
‘It’s not as if every company in Australia has a role for washed-up baggage handlers and cleaners,’ Mr Dixon continued.
Qantas attempted to immediately appeal the unanimous High Court ruling, which was unsuccessful.
‘The outsourcing decision was ‘adverse action’ within the meaning of the Fair Work Act 2009 because it altered the position of the affected employees of Qantas and (its subsidiary) Qantas Ground Services to their prejudice,’ the majority judgment by the High Court read.
The Albanese government celebrated the end of the two-year legal battle between the Transport Workers Union and airliner.
Workplace Relations Minister Tony Burke argued against Qantas’ appeal and after it was rejected followed up with an attack on the Coalition during question time.
‘We welcome today that justice has been given for those workers after experiencing horrific treatment from a company that those opposite made excuses for,’ Mr Burke said.
The national secretary of the Transport Workers Union, Michael Kaine, called for Qantas to apologise after the court ruled in their favour.
‘This has been a spiteful corporate dictatorship, and the board has been right behind Alan Joyce … every step of the way,’ he said.
‘There are serious consequences that should flow from this. Richard Goyder and the board should go.
‘But their last act before they walk out the door should be to rip away from Alan Joyce, the obscene bonuses that he has taken as these families suffer. The bonuses have to go, the board has to go.’
Leading up to the decision by the court Mr Joyce announced his early retirement, which was brought forward by two months amidst numerous scandals.
Mr Joyce had served as chief executive for 15 years and it is expected that Qantas will give him a ‘golden handshake‘ of $24 million in a final cash and share payout.
More to come.