Essays on Qantas Airways Dispute and Resolution Case Study

Download full paperFile format: .doc, available for editing

The paper "Qantas Airways Dispute and Resolution" is a good example of a business case study.   In October 2011, Qantas, one of the biggest international airlines, underwent a period of sheer turbulence; when during the bargaining process with unions the management ran into a stonewall of no cooperation. The discussions were centred on the new enterprise agreements when Qantas had announced the start of Asia airlines (ABC News Report, 2011). During the process things took a turn for the worse as employees including pilots, ground staff and engineers carried out a number of protected industrial actions, culminating in the decision by Qantas, on 29 October 2011, to  lock out  those employees with the consequence that the entire Qantas mainline fleet would be grounded.

  After an application by the Federal Minister for Workplace Relations,   Fair Work Australia  terminated the industrial action with effect from 2 am on 31 October 2011 (Yahoo News Report, 2011). The following essay will look at the details of the case in understanding the method behind the madness that could define the employee relations, which ideally should be based on the usage strategic management principles.

In the case of an international company like Qantas, whose operations have global repercussions, it is also important that the government play a role in the solving of the problems. The essay will look at the nature of such disputes, and the methods that could be used to come up with a solution to industrial relations problems. This would include steps like collective bargaining, among other things. The Strike: The crux of the problem came from issues of pay, conditions of work and issues of outsourcing. The company, like many others, wanted to exploit the cost advantages that come with being able to outsource a chunk of the work to countries where labour costs are substantially lower.

The workers revolted with the circular. The three unions that were participating in the discussion with the management said talks broke down completely. Few flights halted mid runway, while some which were airborne when the strike was announced ended up in wrong destinations. The event was one of the worst employee relation management events in recent history. The government ended up stepping in.

The strike that ultimately lasted some two days affecting thousands of passengers, causing a further strain on the airlines’ already stretched finances. Employee Relation Disputes: Definitions and Nature Disputes, in general, could be classified as individual or collective, depending on who initiates or have the authority to initiate the dispute. Generally, an individual dispute is one involving an individual worker and collective dispute involves a group of workers that are usually represented by a trade union. A rights dispute is a legal dispute and involves the application or interpretation of rights under the law or an existing provision set out in a contract of employment or a collective agreement.

The dispute involves the interpretation, application, administration, or alleged violation of an existing collective agreement or award. An interest dispute, on the other hand, is a dispute regarding the creation of rights or obligations or the modifications of those already in existence. An interest dispute involves settling the terms of a new collective agreement.   Issues of interest are open in the sense, for instance, that a party can normally take action to force through a settlement.

If no settlement can be reached, a dispute of interest cannot be brought before a court or other public body for a decision and there is a threat of an overt battle of strength between the parties in the form of an industrial dispute. A  rights dispute  arises where there is disagreement over the implementation or interpretation of statutory rights, or the rights set out in an existing collective agreement. By contrast, an  interest dispute  concerns cases where there is disagreement over the determination of rights and obligations or the modification of those already in existence.

Interest disputes typically arise in the context of collective bargaining where a collective agreement does not exist or is being renegotiated.


Charvatova D and Veer C G, 2006, Communication and Human Resource Management and its Compliance with Culture, pub, International Journal of Social Science, Vol.1 No1, pp14-18

Losey M R, Meisinger S, Ulrich D, 2005, The future of human resource management: 64 thought leaders explore the critical HR issues of today and tomorrow, Edition: illustrated, Published by John Wiley and Sons, pp46-55

Gibbons, J. H., (2007). Automation and the workplace : selected labor, education, and training. Diane publishing. pp89-91

Forsyth, A., (2009). Fair Work: The New Workplace Laws and the Work Choices Legacy.Federation Press. pp168-170

Qantas Airways grounds global fleet due to strikes. Retrieved February 02, 2012.

Qantas grounds entire fleet. Retrieved February 02, 2012.

Download full paperFile format: .doc, available for editing
Contact Us