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Fair Work puts Qantas back in the air

written by australianaviation.com.au | October 31, 2011

(Seth Jaworski)

After a marathon late night sitting, the full bench of Fair Work Australia has ordered that all Qantas industrial action be terminated, clearing the way for the airline to begin flying as soon as Monday afternoon.

Fair Work ruled that the industrial campaign by three Qantas unions – the ALAEA, TWU and AIPA – and the airline’s subsequent decision to ground all flights with immediate effect on Saturday and lock out staff from those unions from Monday would have caused significant economic damage to Australia.

“We should do what we can to avoid significant damage to the tourism industry,” Justice Geoffrey Giudice, head of the Fair Work tribunal, said.

In a brief statement Qantas CEO Alan Joyce welcomed the decision.

“This decision provides certainty for Qantas passengers,” Joyce said. “We will be getting our aircraft back up in the air as soon as we possibly can. It could be as early as Monday afternoon on a limited schedule with the approval of the regulator.”


The unions had argued that the the industrial campaign be suspended, rather than terminated, which would have allowed them to resume industrial action after 120 days should new enterprise bargaining agreements not be reached in that time. Instead Qantas and its unions have an initial 21 day period, which could be extended by a further 21 days, to reach agreement on new pay deals, arbitrated by Fair Work.

Saturday’s grounding of the airline had stranded tens of thousands of Qantas passengers around Australia and internationally.

“I apologise to all Qantas passengers that have been impacted by the industrial action by unions over the past few months and in particular the past few days,” Joyce said.

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Comments (6)

  • Greg Soper..


    Mr Joyce…The Unions did not cause the flight cancellations in the last few days..That call was all yours..Hello..Mr Joyce..anyone home?..Greg..

  • PeterL


    Has anyone noticed how you never hear exactly how much these unionists are earning, you would be surprised at the wages these guys take home. Why should Qantas staff earn more than their equals at Virgin, Tiger or Jetstar?

    Qantas cannot continue to operate with a cost structure much higher than the competition and that means AUSTRALIAN competition as well as international. I am all for Joyce and what he has done. If the unions won’t listen then shut the airline down for good. What is the point of watching it slowly go under as happened with Ansett.

    Good on you Joyce you were left with no other option!

  • Ian Reid


    PeterL i agree.
    Virgin must be the luckies airline in the world. First Ansett was destroyed allowing a huge expansion for Virgin. Now the unions are set to destroy Qantas too. Virgin execs much be watching this with glee. what saddens me most is all these workers will expect all their entitlements to be paid by the governemnt even though it is their greed that is destroying their employer

  • Mario


    Greg, are you on another planet? So it’s ok for the staff to strike, causing thousands of passengers to be inconvenienced, but when the company goes on strike causing the same passengers to be inconvenienced, it’s not OK? Wake up to the real world Greg….industrial action does not work! If you don’t like your job or the pay you are receiving…LEAVE, go to Virgin or Jetstar, or are you too lazy to get a better paying job, Oh yes that’s right if you want more pay you should work a little harder/smarter, but I suppose that’s asking a little too much! When are people going to realise that it’s the shareholders who own the company, not the workers. Workers get paid to do a job, you can’t have a fixed salary and share in the profits of the company, if you don’t contribute to said profits!!!

    Good for you Joyce and the Qantas Board of Directors.

  • Ren Y


    Mario, I totally agree with your comments. from beginning to now, in the last couple of months, i did not hear a word “sorry” from Union bosses to passengers. But Alan Joyce always apologise to passengers every time he speaks. If Qantas can not survive, I am sorry there will be no pay rise, no job security. Who is running Qantas? senior management or unions? Alan, you have my full support!

  • Brian


    Instead of letting in every other airline into this country, exersize a little control of who allow to compete with our national airline.

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