Qantas continues battle with unions

Qantas continues battle with unions
By admin

Qantas has denied claims that it misled a senate inquiry into last year’s industrial dispute and slammed the Transport Workers Union (TWU) for mounting an “unrelenting campaign” to undermine the airline.

As the arbitration case continues before Fair Work Australia, TWU national secretary Tony Sheldon has accused Qantas of providing conflicting versions of its decision to ground the fleet in October last year.

While chief executive Alan Joyce last year told a senate committee that he made the decision on the spot in 2011, the airline’s chief financial officer Gareth Evans this week revealed that a lockout had been discussed in the weeks preceding the grounding.

The TWU says the contradicting claims suggests that the airline planned the lockout in advance, and is calling for an investigation to “set the record straight”.

“Qantas has confirmed that they had a lockout strategy ready to roll once the CEO pushed the button. Their trail of false and misleading statements demands immediate and thorough investigation,” Sheldon said.

Qantas has been quick to dismiss the claims, noting that the lockout was always a possibility. Instead, it blames the TWU for continuing its crusade to damage the Qantas brand.

“Qantas had always known a lockout was an option because it’s the only form of industrial action an employer can take under the legislation,” Qantas group executive government and corporate affairs Olivia Wirth said. “This is another conspiracy theory from the union official who was at the centre of last year’s dispute.”

Wirth stressed that Qantas considered a “range of options” in the lead up to the grounding, including a lockout. However, a final decision was not made until the day, she added.

The hearing before Fair Work Australia continues.

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