The suit was filed by the Transport Workers Union (TWU), the main body that represents baggage handlers, aircraft cleaning, and refueling staff. It is unclear what penalties Qantas will suffer.
Qantas declared the outsourcing saved US$73.42 million annually, reducing capital expenditure costs by US$58.73 million.
Meanwhile, Qantas announced 2,500 more job cuts and a potential for outsourcing ground handling operations. Qantas saw a US$2.94 billion drop in revenue due to the Covid crisis.
'Senior Qantas management have serious questions to answer after this judgment. The judge made clear that Qantas targeted its ground workers for outsourcing because they were united to fight for decent standards at the airline,' said TWU national secretary Michael Kaine.
The move to outsource the jobs was made last year after Qantas declared 370 Jetstar ground workers were sacked and a further 2,000 ground staff on its mainline brand notified their roles were under review.
Said Qantas: 'While the court accepted that Qantas made the decision to outsource in response to the unprecedented impact of the Covid crisis, it found the TWU's claim that preventing future industrial action was also a factor had not been disproven - which is the threshold for such cases. Qantas fundamentally disagrees with this judgment, particularly in light of the following:
'The TWU has put forward its persecution complex that our decision to save A$100 million (US$80.2 million) a year in the middle of a global downturn was really about stopping them from walking off the job at some time in the future. The fact is, Qantas deals with the operational risk of industrial action on a regular basis given the 50-plus agreements across the group,' said Qantas executive John Gissing.
'That risk pales in comparison with a pandemic that has grounded our fleet and our people for months and has so far cost us A$16 billion in revenue. The focus of the TWU's case was on a few documents that made reference to industrial action while ignoring the hundreds that don't,' said Mr Gissing.
'Any company acting prudently has to consider all operational risks when making a significant decision, but a reference to the risk of industrial action risk does not automatically mean that it's a reason for the decision. Qantas was motivated only by lawful commercial reasons, and this will be the subject of our appeal,' said Mr Gissing.