TWU and officials fined over unlawful strike

22 July 2011

The Transport Workers Union (TWU) and four of its officials have today been fined a total of $31,000 over unlawful industrial action by Qantas baggage handlers in 2009.

The Federal Court has upheld allegations by the Fair Work Ombudsman - raised separately to Qantas - but heard simultaneously.

Justice Michael Moore imposed the fines after finding the union and its officials played a role in organising Qantas baggage handlers to engage in unlawful industrial action for about four hours at Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth airports on March 30, 2009.

The majority of the baggage handlers who participated in the unlawful industrial action were TWU members. The unlawful industrial action was conducted in objection to the outsourcing of work by Qantas and over TWU concerns about airport security.

Justice Moore found that the industrial action breached workplace relations laws because it was conducted before the Qantas baggage handlers’ enterprise bargaining agreement expired in 2011.

Qantas’ litigation resulted in the Federal Court imposing penalties against a further three TWU officials and the TWU being ordered to pay Qantas compensation. 

Fair Work Ombudsman Nicholas Wilson welcomed the TWU and its officials being held to account for their actions, saying it is important that workplace laws are adhered to in relation to industrial action. 

Employers or employees seeking assistance should contact the Fair Work Infoline on 13 13 94 or visit the Fair Work Ombudsman website. 

A free interpreter service is available on 13 14 50.

Media inquiries:

Ryan Pedler, Senior Adviser, Media & Stakeholder Relations
(03) 9954 2561, 0411 430 902

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