Media release

Qantas: Unlawful Outsourcing of Ground Handling Crew

Today, the Federal Court has ruled against Qantas over the axing and outsourcing of 2,000 ground workers.

Commenting on the decision, Dr Katie Hepworth, Director of Workers’ Rights at ACCR said:

“Qantas axed its highly skilled and experienced workforce, choosing to outsource to an organisation with a poor safety record and history of labour scandals.

“Investors should rightly question whether Qantas management were acting in the best interests of the company and shareholders in choosing to outsource their ground handling crew, or whether their real intention was to deny freedom of association to their staff.

“In light of this decision, the company should immediately take steps to reinstate their axed workforce, ensuring the company has experienced and skilled staff back on deck.”


ACCR is currently engaging companies in sectors that have significant exposure to risks associated with outsourcing and indirect employment, including horticulture, commercial cleaning, mining construction, large scale solar and warehousing. These sectors may be exposed to significant outsourcing risks due to the percentage of the workforce that is employed via third party agencies, or the severity of the risks associated with the outsourcing of labour (up to and including modern slavery).

In May 2020, ACCR released a report entitled Labour Hire and Contracting Across the ASX100. The report described the key workforce and operational risks associated with labour hire and outsourcing working arrangements. It also discusses an emerging sector, large-scale solar installation. The second round of this report will be released in August 2021.