Qantas announces 2,000 job losses as it outsources ground handling operations

Ground handling operations to be outsourced at 10 airports nationwide

Qantas announces 2,000 job losses as it outsources ground handling operations

Qantas has confirmed 2,000 job losses amid plans to outsource ground handling at 10 airports across Australia.

The airline blamed the financial impact of COVID-19 for the decision after a review of its current staffing costs.

Qantas said the other bids put forward during the review of its ground handling operation, including those by the Transport Workers Union (TWU), were not commercially viable.

In a statement, the airline said: “The Transport Workers Union (TWU) submitted a bid on behalf of employees in accordance with terms in the enterprise agreement. Teams from some individual airports submitted local proposals. Unfortunately, none of these bids met the objectives.

“Qantas granted three separate extensions to the original deadline for the bid following requests by the TWU, doubling the total period to 12 weeks.

“Their resulting national bid was, by their own admission, ‘theoretical’ with no roadmap of how projected cost savings would be achieved.”

The airline estimated a $100 million annual saving through using third-party ground handling operations.

Employees affected in the job losses include baggage handlers and aircraft cleaners.

Qantas will now begin the process of consulting with affected staff around redundancy packages and next steps.

The new job losses come after a turbulent few months as the aviation industry struggled through the pandemic.

In March as the international borders closed, the airline stood down two-thirds of its workers

Three months later, Qantas announced 6,000 redundancies out of its pre-COVID workforce of 29,000.

The airline is also reviewing its bus services in and around Sydney airport with the potential to outsource to a third-party company, putting 50 more jobs at risk.

Announcing today’s job cuts, Qantas domestic and international CEO Andrew David: “This is another tough day for Qantas, particularly for our ground handling teams and their families.

“We thank every one of them for their professionalism and contribution over the years supporting our customers and operations.

“Unfortunately, COVID has turned aviation upside down. Airlines around the world are having to make dramatic decisions in order to survive and the damage will take years to repair.”

The news follows a Federal Court ruling which the judge said would have 'huge ramifications' on Qantas employees.

On Friday, the court ruled against the TWU saying the airline’s employees did not have the right to sick, carer’s or compassionate leave when they were stood down unless the employer allowed for it.

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