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Qantas outsources ground handling, slams TWU proposal

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Qantas outsources ground handling, slams TWU proposal

Old 31st Jul 2021, 06:20
  #41 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by No Idea Either View Post
But if they were illegally terminated, then shouldn’t they be back paid……..the equivalent of the redundancy, probably more by now so perhaps QF actually owes money………..
Yep, they will be owed money - the notion of paying back a redundancy is farcical.
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Old 31st Jul 2021, 08:19
  #42 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by ScepticalOptomist View Post
Yep, they will be owed money - the notion of paying back a redundancy is farcical.
Well as long as they get whatever is owed to them,thats the main thing.
Maybe the high flying legal eagles who provided the advice that the action the company was taking was legal(but have now been proven wrong) need to sit down with the right fighters they represent & negotiate a refund of the fees paid to them,isnt that what qf would do if the decision had gone the other way.
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Old 31st Jul 2021, 10:32
  #43 (permalink)  
 
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Have QF appealed? They have 21 days.

https://www.fwc.gov.au/general-prote...chbook/appeals

If I understood the above link correctly, an appeal can be lodged and heard by the Fair Work Full Bench or similar, if still no joy then the aggrieved is then free to take it to a Federal court. Sounds like at best it will be at least another year or two before the last available option is fully exercised.
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Old 31st Jul 2021, 10:58
  #44 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by cattletruck View Post
Have QF appealed? They have 21 days.

https://www.fwc.gov.au/general-prote...chbook/appeals

If I understood the above link correctly, an appeal can be lodged and heard by the Fair Work Full Bench or similar, if still no joy then the aggrieved is then free to take it to a Federal court. Sounds like at best it will be at least another year or two before the last available option is fully exercised.
Wrong court. This wasn't a decision made by the Fair Work Commission, it was made by the Federal Court.

https://www.fedcourt.gov.au/law-and-...e-jurisdiction

So, 28 days to appeal but given that the court is set to reconvene on Monday to rule on declaratory relief Qantas will likely have served a notice of appeal before then requesting that that be delayed until such time as the appeal is heard. Qantas will almost certainly seek an expedited hearing of their appeal.

Last edited by MickG0105; 31st Jul 2021 at 11:14. Reason: Typo
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Old 31st Jul 2021, 13:48
  #45 (permalink)  
 
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Judgement makes for interesting reading……. The use of the word obdurate perhaps best sums its up.




Last edited by Arthur D; 1st Aug 2021 at 04:34.
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Old 4th Aug 2021, 08:23
  #46 (permalink)  
 
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Big headache for individuals. Not sure they fully understand the mess they are getting themselves into.

If the ruling is confirmed, then it is no longer a bona fide redundancy and the ATO will be chasing the individuals with a very significant tax bill. That will be a personal exposure of every individual who has accepted a redundancy payment. Its just the tax rules.

If I was a TWU member who was retired or had happily moved on to another job then I would not be very happy about having to pay the ATO.
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Old 4th Aug 2021, 09:28
  #47 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by CamelSquadron View Post
Big headache for individuals. Not sure they fully understand the mess they are getting themselves into.

If the ruling is confirmed, then it is no longer a bona fide redundancy and the ATO will be chasing the individuals with a very significant tax bill. That will be a personal exposure of every individual who has accepted a redundancy payment. Its just the tax rules.

If I was a TWU member who was retired or had happily moved on to another job then I would not be very happy about having to pay the ATO.
Not how the law works - AT THE TIME it was a bona fide redundancy. Individuals would be fine. Can’t be made to pay back any payments made to them. At least that’s the opinion of the tax law individual I spoke with.
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Old 4th Aug 2021, 21:47
  #48 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by CamelSquadron View Post
Big headache for individuals. Not sure they fully understand the mess they are getting themselves into.

If the ruling is confirmed, then it is no longer a bona fide redundancy and the ATO will be chasing the individuals with a very significant tax bill. That will be a personal exposure of every individual who has accepted a redundancy payment. Its just the tax rules.

If I was a TWU member who was retired or had happily moved on to another job then I would not be very happy about having to pay the ATO.
It is not the individuals who havent complied with the law here,the court have found the company contravened the fair work act so if there is action to be taken im sure the way forward will be clearly laid down by the court.
The company did & got what it wanted,the employees were terminated & they had no choice.
As far as the company is concerned,it is their mess & up to them to sort it out,i would be guessing they wont forget this 1 very quickly if the appeal is not successful.
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Old 4th Aug 2021, 22:17
  #49 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by blubak View Post
Its not industrial action,nothing to do with it.
Its the contracted company now doing the job of long serving airline employees with a lot less staff employed at lower pay levels & not really caring whose bag gets on the right aircraft or not.
& why would they,casual wages,no guarantee of hours or wages each week.
Oh, come off it, seriously. The entire industry, despite there being some good people, has watched for decades as these people played cards in the lunch room between flights, sometimes for hours on end, slept on the job, milked the rosters for every ounce of 50% penalties and overtime, featherbedded every job to the point where they had more people doing the same work than the providers that are now taking over.

Qantas has used 'contractors' at every port outside Australia for decades. The Ramp and Baggage are going because, just like overseas, in places like San Francisco where Qantas used to have its own staff, it became economically insane to employ people full time to do a job that you could pay a marginal rate for to be done by a service provider who utilised those staff outside the Qantas operation.

Once upon a time when there were no independent ground handlers in Australia and airlines provided the ground handling, with even TAA and Ansett doing international handling, it made sense. Ever since independent handlers were brought in and were able to cross-utilise resources over a number of client airlines, the 'airline' based handling operations became unsustainable. This has been coming for decades, it's amazing it's taken this long. Anybody who denies that this lot have been milking the cow for decades is either too close to the group themselves or walking around blind.

Everybody knows from decades of experience how this particular group and their union has at times gone to bat for people who stole, fought and lazed their way to a wage. There have been some great people work in those areas but unfortunately they have had to wear the reputation of the worst elements and it appears as though the union was never interested in the employees but political power, dragging them out onto the grass over the most trivial matters.

Some of us are old enough to remember, to give one example, the Rower's Club near SIT being colloquially referred to as the "TWU Lunchroom" and other such epithets. None of those type of things were ever levelled or justified against the upstairs/customer service operation, they were nowhere near as militant or manipulative.

Well, eventually the gravy train stops and the consumers of the gravy get offloaded. Like others have said, this is no surprise, the only surprise is it's taken this long.
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Old 4th Aug 2021, 22:29
  #50 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by griffin one View Post
what a narcissistic comment.
in the 80,S and 90,S Qantas handled just about every international operator through Sydney.they kept costs down by having multiple contracts.
Management decided to terminate contracts and this has the flow on effect of higher overheads.
I wish all staff effected by this decision the very best outcome.
Firstly, it's 'affected' not 'effected' and secondly, that monopoly that Qantas had (well, not really, you have chosen not to mention Ansett and TAA/Australian who also had handling operations so Qantas didn't handle every carrier) was broken when independent ground handlers were allowed to start operating at major airports (like every other airport overseas for decades). The marginal cost that Qantas was able to charge, in exchange for a quid-pro-quo at the handled airlines' main base overseas ceased to exist. From that point, the writing was on the wall and below the wing airline ground handling was doomed.

It is simply, today, when there are multiple independent handlers, economically unviable for a company like Qantas to pay for full time employees, pay super and provide staff travel, pay payroll tax and work cover premiums, etc. for a smaller and smaller group of people when they can pay a set rate for a turnaround service that is amortised across many clients.

Qantas has been handled by contractors overseas for decades, either subsidiaries of airline businesses such as was the case in London for a time (BACH) or more frequently, by independent ground handling companies. There was no appreciable increase in mishandled baggage and the like, the load controllers were all certified by Qantas and trained by Qantas, why do you think that is, that it's able to work overseas but not here?? Do American baggage handlers and European baggage handlers have more arms and legs or extra dexterity that enables them to deliver a sometimes better service than in house staff in Australia or is it just that this 'in house' argument has been used for decades while the union has screwed the company WAY beyond what is reasonable. For goodness sake, I've heard from people still there that the union was so exploitative it'd have people paid for taking a crap at the end of their shift if they could get away with it (yes, this was actually raised at one point).

Some of these ground handlers have won awards from the likes of Singapore Airlines, et al for their level of service. The statistics that are usually quoted show less aircraft damage by ground handlers than by in house staff and certainly FAR less featherbedding and milking of penalties and bloated resource requirements.
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Old 4th Aug 2021, 22:42
  #51 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by ebt View Post
I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for negotiations to start. Qantas will appeal this one all the way up to the Full Bench of the High Court if they have to, as this is their one shot to get out of the groundhanding business altogether. This decision doesn't appear to be a full victory for the TWU, so it is likely that Qantas will grourp and mount some better arguments about how dire the industry is and why the airline can justify outsourcing it, or at least find a way to get around the technicalities raised in this judgement. They will argue that it has wider ramifications on how a business can respond during an unprecedented crisis. Given the lockdowns continue to throw schedules and ops into a state of flux, it is helping to make the case for why it is better to pay a contractor than it is having lots of employees hanging around.
Yes, I wouldn't be crowing about this 'victory' if I were the TWU. Any judge in any court on the same day could have seen it differently. That's why there is an appeal process and as you say, it will enable Qantas to refine their argument and I don't expect this to go beyond the first appeal, I reckon it will be overturned on appeal.

Lots of people on here expressing their opinion and I'm sure they believe they're right but when they can't even get the name of the Act of Parliament right, it's the "Fair Work Act", the body that administers it is "Fair Work Australia", via the "Fair Work Commission" and this decision was made in Federal Circuit Court, not before the Fair Work Commission.

Last edited by AerialPerspective; 4th Aug 2021 at 22:52.
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Old 4th Aug 2021, 23:53
  #52 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by AerialPerspective View Post
Yes, I wouldn't be crowing about this 'victory' if I were the TWU. Any judge in any court on the same day could have seen it differently. That's why there is an appeal process and as you say, it will enable Qantas to refine their argument and I don't expect this to go beyond the first appeal, I reckon it will be overturned on appeal.
Yes, there's certainly reasonable grounds for an appeal.

The appeal will likely turn on the Court's interpretation of the phrase 'substantial and operative factor/reason' as in did the fact that the ground handling function heavily unionised form a substantial and operative part of Qantas's reasoning in determining to outsource it? There's some case law around the phrase and its application but there's a fairly rudimentary test for determining if something is 'substantial and operative'; if that element was not present (that is, if ground handling wasn't heavily unionised) and all other factors remained the same (the commercial/financial factors) would the same decision be reached? Form your own view on that.
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Old 5th Aug 2021, 00:59
  #53 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by MickG0105 View Post
Yes, there's certainly reasonable grounds for an appeal.

The appeal will likely turn on the Court's interpretation of the phrase 'substantial and operative factor/reason' as in did the fact that the ground handling function heavily unionised form a substantial and operative part of Qantas's reasoning in determining to outsource it? There's some case law around the phrase and its application but there's a fairly rudimentary test for determining if something is 'substantial and operative'; if that element was not present (that is, if ground handling wasn't heavily unionised) and all other factors remained the same (the commercial/financial factors) would the same decision be reached? Form your own view on that.
Not questioning your explanation, but it seems a bit of a paradox. If it wasn’t unionised the commercial/economic factors to outsource it would probably not have been present as, without unionisation, the staff would more than likely be on lower T&Cs. Makes Back to the Future look like elementary meta-physics!

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Old 5th Aug 2021, 01:16
  #54 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by StudentInDebt View Post
Not questioning your explanation, but it seems a bit of a paradox. If it wasn’t unionised the commercial/economic factors to outsource it would probably not have been present as, without unionisation, the staff would more than likely be on lower T&Cs. Makes Back to the Future look like elementary meta-physics!
Generally you take the facts as they are, not as they might have been but doubtless the Unions might look to advance that argument.

Last edited by MickG0105; 5th Aug 2021 at 01:18. Reason: Added point
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Old 5th Aug 2021, 11:02
  #55 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by StudentInDebt View Post
Not questioning your explanation, but it seems a bit of a paradox. If it wasn’t unionised the commercial/economic factors to outsource it would probably not have been present as, without unionisation, the staff would more than likely be on lower T&Cs. Makes Back to the Future look like elementary meta-physics!
No appeal can ignore the capital cost of the equipment. A ground handler (I know some of them use older equipment but not all) can purchase the capital equipment (that equipment is not required in passenger handling, which is why it's not a target for outsourcing which is what I thought was one of the principal reasons for offloading the work) and amortize its cost across many clients/airlines, Qantas cannot. It's like a small garage that services cars, it can't afford sophisticated emissions testing equipment, for example or it would take 100 years to pay it off based on throughput of business/income, so it contracts that component out to someone who specializes in that and can afford the equipment because it is amortized over hundreds of clients.

Because of the introduction of independent ground handlers, who eventually became much cheaper than Qantas once they garnered large numbers of clients, the critical mass that once existed is now no longer present. It's a no brainer really. I know there's a lot of emotion around the decision and I understand having been in a position made redundant several times, but that is emotion, not fact and the fact is it's not sustainable.
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Old 5th Aug 2021, 11:45
  #56 (permalink)  
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AerialPerspective, thanks for bringing some real-world insight and undeniable fact, rather than hyperbole and emotion, into this.
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Old 5th Aug 2021, 11:54
  #57 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by AerialPerspective View Post
No appeal can ignore the capital cost of the equipment. ...
For better or for worse, the respective cost bases - capital and operating - won't get much of a look in. The Court is not concerned with the commercial bona fides of the outsourcing rather it will limit itself to determining whether the fact that the ground handling function was heavily unionised formed a substantial and operative part of Qantas's reasoning in determining to outsource it.
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Old 6th Aug 2021, 00:47
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Originally Posted by MickG0105 View Post
For better or for worse, the respective cost bases - capital and operating - won't get much of a look in. The Court is not concerned with the commercial bona fides of the outsourcing rather it will limit itself to determining whether the fact that the ground handling function was heavily unionised formed a substantial and operative part of Qantas's reasoning in determining to outsource it.
You're probably right, but on the surface at least, Qantas provided the opportunity for the group affected to submit a proposal which was competitive to the contracted alternatives, they couldn't. They cited the cost of the equipment, it is unsustainable. I see nothing overt in Qantas' decision to contract out the work that suggests it was because it was highly unionised. I'm not saying that's not how the court will see it, just that if it comes down to that, then I think Qantas would have a reasonable grounds to be very angry about that sort of result. There are literally thousands of businesses in this country that have contracted out parts of their workforce, including ones that are highly unionised.

I'm all for protection of workers rights and decent wages, etc. and in many cases, a number of unions have made a hash of their role in the system and union membership has dropped off as a result, I don't think that's a good thing, but do we really want to have a system where a company goes broke in preference to contracting out part of its workforce, where there is a clear economic benefit to do so and facts that support it??

Not that I think Qantas is going to go broke but translate this scenario to a smaller company such as VA, where the equivalent workforce in this area may represent a much higher proportion of overall in-house resource costs and where it might very well be the difference between stopping short of the cliff edge and going over it.

I would consider that a regrettable precedent. I understand the merits of the case have turned on that particular aspect (the unionised workforce element) but if this were replicated elsewhere, the result could be disastrous.
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Old 6th Aug 2021, 01:07
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Originally Posted by AerialPerspective View Post
You're probably right, but on the surface at least, Qantas provided the opportunity for the group affected to submit a proposal which was competitive to the contracted alternatives, they couldn't. They cited the cost of the equipment, it is unsustainable. I see nothing overt in Qantas' decision to contract out the work that suggests it was because it was highly unionised. I'm not saying that's not how the court will see it, just that if it comes down to that, then I think Qantas would have a reasonable grounds to be very angry about that sort of result. There are literally thousands of businesses in this country that have contracted out parts of their workforce, including ones that are highly unionised.

I'm all for protection of workers rights and decent wages, etc. and in many cases, a number of unions have made a hash of their role in the system and union membership has dropped off as a result, I don't think that's a good thing, but do we really want to have a system where a company goes broke in preference to contracting out part of its workforce, where there is a clear economic benefit to do so and facts that support it??

Not that I think Qantas is going to go broke but translate this scenario to a smaller company such as VA, where the equivalent workforce in this area may represent a much higher proportion of overall in-house resource costs and where it might very well be the difference between stopping short of the cliff edge and going over it.

I would consider that a regrettable precedent. I understand the merits of the case have turned on that particular aspect (the unionised workforce element) but if this were replicated elsewhere, the result could be disastrous.
Yes, whether the Court likes it or not, they are essentially ruling on whether a company can outsource any element their business that has high levels of union membership regardless of whether there would have been a valid commercial reason for doing so.
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Old 16th Aug 2021, 09:03
  #60 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by MickG0105 View Post
Yes, whether the Court likes it or not, they are essentially ruling on whether a company can outsource any element their business that has high levels of union membership regardless of whether there would have been a valid commercial reason for doing so.
What a load of ignorant junk. You clearly have zero understanding of the law or just waste your free time manipulating others that have little understanding of the law.

The Justice ruled based on law as its written and was intended. The fact that it doesn’t suit the company narrative or the commercial reasons for the decision are irrelevant.

Australian companies can outsource elements of their business as long as they follow the law and don’t attempt to manipulate and mislead the court. Judges do not like that
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