Former Qantas luggage handlers speak out in the midst of airport mayhem.
Former Qantas baggage handlers claim they are desperate to return to work amid widespread disruption at Australian airports.
Despite staff shortages and consumer concerns over missing luggage, some of the baggage handlers let go by Qantas claim they have been denied new airport positions.
Since the airline outsourced their work to temporary staffing agencies during the pandemic, many of the laid-off ground crew members say they have struggled to live.
More than 1100 baggage handlers, ramp workers, and cabin cleaners responded to a survey conducted by the Transport Workers’ Union during its protracted legal battle with Qantas.
According to a poll issued on Tuesday, nearly half of the outsourced personnel are still unemployed or insecurely employed, with many moving in with family or friends or withdrawing their retirement funds.
A third of the polled former employees had acquired melancholy or anxiety since being terminated, with one in ten reporting suicidal ideation and feelings of “worthlessness.”
Customers of the once-world-class airline Qantas have criticized the company and its chief executive officer, Alan Joyce, for missing luggage, flight cancellations, and lengthy airport delays.
The TWU attributes a portion of the interruption to the outsourcing of ground and luggage handling tasks to other parties like as Swissport, which has been reached for comment.
Don Dixon, a former member of the ground crew, attributed the disruption to “business foolishness.”
“Passengers can’t collect their baggage, they can’t board flights, and there are flight delays,” he told reporters at Sydney Airport on Tuesday. “We have all this experience while sitting at home.”
“Mr. Joyce and your executives, you committed an error; you gambled and lost. When you make a mistake, you put up your hand and take responsibility for it.
According to the TWU, it is examining accusations that some of these workers appear to have been “blacklisted” by the staffing agencies that Qantas used to replace them.
Mark Lenzo, a former baggage handler, stated on Tuesday, “They’re looking for workers, but I can’t get work at any ground handling company. It’s absolutely revolting.
Qantas will appeal to the High Court after losing its appeal against a 2021 judgment that the outsourcing was illegal and was primarily motivated by the fact that many of the laid-off employees were union members with better bargaining power.
In May, the entire bench of the Federal Court unanimously denied Qantas’s initial appeal of the ruling.
However, the judges denied the union’s cross-appeal that the terminated employees should be reinstated due to the expense to Qantas, which had liquidated the subsidiary firm that hired them.
A Qantas representative apologized to customers whose luggage was delayed and blamed staff shortages for airport disruptions.
“The union has cited Qantas’ decision to outsource the remainder of our in-house ground handling in 2020 as a significant factor for the restart’s difficulty.” “It’s not,” responded the spokesperson.
“We had completed the outsourcing before to Easter 2021, when domestic travel had returned to about 100 percent, and we did not experience the challenges we did this Easter.”
According to him, affected individuals had been provided assistance to move to new positions, and some have accepted employment with labor-hire contractors.
The TWU urges the Albanian government to establish an independent aviation tribunal, which, according to the union, would assist raise industry standards.