The Qantas board is under increasing pressure after the High Court ruled that the carrier’s sacking of 1700 workers during the pandemic was illegal.
There are calls for new Qantas CEO Vanessa Hudson to roll the current board and chairman Richard Goyder following the humiliating court result that forced the airline to apologise for its actions.
“Qantas acknowledges and accepts the High Court’s decision to uphold two prior rulings by the Federal Court regarding the legality of outsourcing the remainder of the airline’s ground handling function in 2020,” Qantas said in a statement.
“The decision to outsource the remainder of the airline’s ground handling function was made in August 2020, when borders were closed, lockdowns were in place and no COVID vaccine existed.
“The likelihood of a years’ long crisis led Qantas to restructure its business to improve its ability to survive and ultimately recover.
“As we have said from the beginning, we deeply regret the personal impact the outsourcing decision had on all those affected and we sincerely apologise for that.”
The Transport Workers Union (TWU), which brought the legal action, said that Goyder must step aside.
“The airline cannot achieve the reset necessary for its survival under the same board that resided over the largest case of illegal sackings in Australian corporate history,” TWU national secretary Michael Kaine said.
“Richard Goyder cannot make it through another day as chair. Qantas needs a fresh start. A worker voice on the board would make a significant difference and send the right signal that Qantas is serious about getting back on track.”
The ruling now means the affected workers can seek compensation.