Qantas and Jetstar's decision on ground operations work in Airports.

Posted on August 28, 2020

On Tuesday, 25 August 2020, Qantas Group announced that it intends to consider outsourcing Australian Airport ground operations performed by Qantas Airlines, QGS, and Jetstar Services staff working in ramp, baggage handling, and fleet presentation, at 11 Australian Airports

This work is covered by the Transport Workers union (TWU) who have condemned this action which will affect around 2500 staff. Most of whom have been stood down and are on Jobkeeper. 

This is a heartless act during this already difficult time - there have been significant redundancies and loyal, hardworking, staff are suffering financially.

What your union knows so far

The company has indicated that it will review ground operations over the next three months. The review includes a tender process and your union understands that both Qantas and Jetstar have opened applications to a range of ground handling companies. The TWU’s Qantas EBA contains a clause that also allows an in-house Qantas team to bid for their work. It is possible that there will be an in-house bid from TWU-covered workers in Qantas and potentially in QGS and Jetstar which may occur by negotiation.

This current decision does not affect customer service workers who are covered by the ASU at airports but, it may affect some ASU members in roles that relate to work performed in TWU covered positions. Your union is trying to establish exactly which ASU jobs could be affected if the work is outsourced.

What your union is doing 

We are seeking urgent discussions with Qantas Group to understand how this decision will affect you and your colleagues. We will also be seeking a commitment from them that they do not outsource ASU covered functions. Your union is hoping to have a meeting with airport delegates and senior airport management at both Qantas and Jetstar in the next week. Keep an eye out for updates.

We understand that members are worried that Qantas / Jetstar will decide to extend their tendering process to customer services despite the current assurances.

Long term members will remember that you and your colleagues have been through a competitive tendering /outsourcing process at Qantas Airways for customer services in the late 1990s/2000s. ASU members formed local teams and worked together to build in-house proposals. Ultimately, ASU in-house Qantas teams won the bid in every port that was put to tender, which were exactly the same airports that are currently under review. 

This was not a pleasant process but it showed the rhetoric about cost savings and smarter ways of working from outside organisations was just that - rhetoric. There are better ways of working with staff than threatening their jobs in the middle of a global pandemic. Clearly the lessons of the past have not been learned by current management.

Your union office is also talking to the TWU and will offer any support that we can to their members and your colleagues and we know that ASU members will too.

As always, we will keep you posted with new developments. Whatever happens, Your union is by your side and will be working hard to protect jobs, conditions and pay as we always have.

Got a question?  

Please feel free to speak with your workplace delegates or get in contact with me by emailing

1800 177 244