The Transport Workers Union (TWU) has been fined $35,000 in the Federal Court after it found that strikes by Qantas baggage handlers in Adelaide and Melbourne in December 2007 were unlawful.
The strike, which was carried out to prevent a review by Qantas of its Adelaide ground handling operations, was deemed unlawful as it was conducted prior to the expiry of the handlers’ enterprise bargaining agreement. As a result of the strike, 15 domestic Qantas flights suffered delays of between three and five hours.
In handing down his judgement, Justice Anthony Besanko said that the contraventions were “serious and deliberate”, but also noted that the TWU had taken action to train members on their rights at work and that it had cooperated with an investigation by the Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO). The FWO and TWU jointly agreed on the fine, which the TWU will have to pay by August 23.