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Qantas to find out fate over illegal job outsourcing



Qantas is set to find out whether its decision to outsource more than 1600 workers during the COVID-19 pandemic was legal.

But a High Court ruling today in favour of the airline could be undone by future federal legislation.

The airline is appealing two rulings by the Federal Court, which found the outsourcing of baggage handlers, cleaners and ground staff was illegal.

READ MORE: Qantas passengers stranded on Melbourne tarmac for six hours

Qantas was found to have breached the Fair Work Act in outsourcing its ground operations to avoid enterprise bargaining rights, after the Transport Workers' Union took legal action against the carrier.

The airline, which retrenched workers in 2020, lost billions of dollars due to the pandemic, which decimated the aviation sector.

Justin Gleeson SC for Qantas, told the High Court in May the airline's revenue stream had been shattered by the pandemic which left it "bleeding cash".

But the airline has since posted an underlying profit of almost $2.5 billion in the past financial year.

Qantas argued it could not have breached the workplace rights of the employees, as they did not have the right to take protected industrial action at the time of the decision to outsource.

Workplace Relations Minister Tony Burke has intervened in the case.

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