The Qantas Saga

Qantas, the Flying Kangaroo, Australia’s pride in the skies. Though recently, it’s been more like a kangaroo caught in the headlights. The airline’s recent saga that’s as gripping as a binge-worthy Netflix drama, but with real-world implications, serves as a cautionary tale for businesses navigating the complexities of HR in today’s business landscape.

The Backstory

In November 2020, at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, Qantas decided to outsource ground crews across ten different airports. The goal? To save an estimated $100 million per year in operating costs (Reference 1). The Transport Workers’ Union (TWU) stepped in and took action, arguing that the decision was made to avoid bargaining with the workers for a new enterprise agreement. This resulted in the High Court unanimously deciding that Qantas had breached the Fair Work Act.

The Legal Stuff

The High Court’s ruling against Qantas wasn’t about the act of outsourcing but rather the intent behind it. The court found that the airline’s decision to outsource was made to avoid collective bargaining with its employees (Reference 1). Now, Qantas is facing not only financial penalties but also a reputational hit that could take years to recover from. It’s a stark reminder that when it comes to HR decisions, the ‘why’ is just as important as the ‘what.’

The Human Toll

The emotional repercussions on employees in cases like Qantas’ are often overlooked but are undeniably significant. When employees begin to feel like expendable assets rather than valued team members, the result isn’t just a disengaged workforce, it’s a demoralized one. This emotional disconnect can have a ripple effect, leading to decreased productivity, increased turnover, and a workplace culture that’s as uninspiring as a flat tyre. According to a study by the Australian HR Institute, there’s a direct correlation between employee engagement, productivity, and job satisfaction which can jeopardize the very soul of your organization (reference 2).

The Moral of the Story

The Qantas case serves as a wake-up call for businesses, especially in Australia. It’s not just about cutting costs and safeguarding your bottom line. HR is a complex landscape that involves making ethical, well-informed decisions that align with both your business objectives and the rights of your employees. Cutting corners or making rushed decisions can have a domino effect. Poor HR choices can erode team morale, tarnish your reputation, and ultimately, put your financial stability at risk. Just like a house of cards, one wrong move and everything you’ve built could come crashing down.

Conclusion

The Qantas saga serves as a poignant reminder that poor HR choices can have far-reaching consequences, impacting both the financial stability and reputation of a business. That’s why Kaizen HR partners with start-ups and small businesses in Australia. Think of us as your co-pilots on a journey toward continuous improvement and innovation.

References:

Reference 1:
https://theconversation.com/high-court-ruling-vindicates-sacked-qantas-workers-but-doesnt-stop-the-outsourcing-of-jobs-in-the-future-213452

Reference 2:
https://www.ahri.com.au/ahri-assist/employee-performance-and-development/motivation-and-engagement/measuring-employee-engagement-and-motivation

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The Qantas Saga

Qantas, the Flying Kangaroo, Australia’s pride in the skies. Though recently, it’s been more like a kangaroo caught in the headlights. The airline’s recent saga that’s as gripping

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