A baggage handler who spoke with The Guardian Australia on the condition of anonymity said one in 10 bags are not making it onto Qantas flights at Sydney airport.
According to the news organization, the baggage handler works for Swissport, a company Qantas outsourced its jobs to. Swissport is having it’s own labor challenges. The Guardian Australia reported the company made contracts with two separate hiring firms in order to find workers to fulfull its Qantas shifts.
The aviation industry is struggling to keep up with summer travel demand. As of June, Sydney Airport had 1,200 vacancies in security and ground-handler positions.
The Guardian Australia reported that employees are quitting frequently due to poor working conditions. In response, Swissport has introduced a $50 per day bonus for baggage handlers if they show up for their shifts for the remainder of the year.
The employee said baggage handlers are overworked, underpaid, and unable to handle the increase in baggage due to the surge in domestic travel.
“I would tell everyone, don’t check in bags when you fly with Qantas right now, or even better if you can avoid it, don’t fly Qantas at all,” the worker said.
In 2020, Qantas outsourced around 1,700 jobs, which has contributed to the company’s shortage of baggage handlers. A federal court ruled the decision was unlawful and partially motivated by anti-union sentiment.