New Qantas CEO Vanessa Hudson will apologise to workers impacted by the national carrier's decision to outsource and dismiss 1,683 jobs during the pandemic lockdown in 2020.
Last week, Qantas lost a High Court challenge to the Transport Workers Union (TWU) with all seven justices finding the company's actions contravened workplace law.
TWU National Secretary Michael Kaine revealed the new CEO of Australia's flag carrier had contacted him directly.
“She apologised for it, she said she would be willing to apologise directly to those workers in the future and we’ll certainly hold her to that."
He said there had to be more action than just words.
"We have got to have culture change. We’ve got to figure out how we bring good, secure jobs back into aviation," he said, and renewed calls for an independent decision-maker over the aviation market.
"These decisions in aviation are complex, and they involve balancing out both national interests and commercial interests. And I think it's in everybody's interest, the community's interests, that we have an independent decision-maker," Mr. Kaine said.
The TWU chief's comments come as the "Spirit of Australia" faces a swathe of challenges, which prompted former CEO Alan Joyce to resign.
A Senate inquiry starting Sept. 19 will examine Transport Minister Catherine King's decision to reject an application from Middle Eastern airline Qatar Airways to double weekly services into Australia.
Ms. King cited Australia's national interest as one reason behind the decision, as well as Qatar's human rights record.
However, the move has drawn criticism from across the political aisle.
"Australians at the end of the day want an aviation industry they can where they can afford a ticket, where the planes take off and land on time, where your bags get to your destination at the same time you do," Senator Bridget McKenzie told ABC radio on Sept. 19, citing concerns about whether less airline competition could see poorer services for customers.
Meanwhile, the national carrier will have to deal with the fallout from the High Court case, with the TWU vowing to pursue the company for millions in compensation to the dismissed workers.
At the same time, Qantas is also being sued by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission for allegedly selling 8,000 tickets for flights that had already been cancelled.