Baggage handlers filmed slamming baggage onto a conveyor belt at the Melbourne airport stop


The three men were employees of Swissport's Qantas subcontractor, which said it was conducting an "urgent investigation" into the incident.

Baggage handlers who were filmed throwing suitcases and slamming bags onto a conveyor belt at Melbourne airport have immediately stepped back pending investigations.

The one-minute footage, reportedly filmed at Melbourne airport, shows baggage handlers deliberately slamming luggage onto a conveyor belt, throwing suitcases high into the air, and throwing one bag with such force that it falls off the conveyor belt altogether.

The three men in hi-vis jackets were unloading Qantas branded luggage. They were seen smiling as they threw their luggage onto the conveyor belt.

Amid online condemnation, the recording has been attached to the song I Still Call Australia Home, which was used by Qantas in its advertising campaign.

The people were employees of Qantas' Swissport subcontractor, which Qantas uses to perform "ground handling services" at Melbourne airport.

"The behavior in this video is clearly unacceptable, and our contracted ground handler is carrying out an urgent investigation," a Qantas spokesperson told the Guardian.

The Guardian understands that the man will not work on Qantas flights again.

A Swissport spokesperson said: “Swissport trains and manages all staff to handle customer property with care and diligence.

“The actions of the staff in the video appear to contradict those service level standards.

"As a result, the staff in question have stepped down pending an urgent investigation."

Swissport chief executive, Brad Moore, wrote to staff saying "the behavior in the video disappointed us all".

“Impolite behavior towards our customers' luggage and personal effects will not be tolerated and will result in serious disciplinary action.

“Rest assured this matter will be investigated with urgency with proper follow up action. Unacceptable behavior from a few individuals will not go unpunished or be allowed to taint the quality of work of our entire team."

Qantas workplace practices with baggage handling have been the subject of significant controversy. In 2021 the company moved to outsourced ground handling operations at 10 Australian airports, including Melbourne, rendering 2,000 roles redundant.

A federal court ruled Qantas' actions were illegal, and the Transport Workers' Union, which represents the workers, is seeking compensation for those who lost their jobs. Qantas has appealed the decision in a high court.

Qantas has had a tumultuous year due to the Covid-19 pandemic, with flights disrupted by delays, cancellations and incidents of lost and mishandled baggage. The airline was the subject of a Four Corners investigation earlier this year, which focused on alleged stressful and divisive work cultures and the company's cost-cutting practices.

Qantas was also awarded this year's Shonky award by consumer watchdog group Choice for its poor customer service.

The airline has returned to profitability, telling markets in an October trade update it expects to post profits of between $1.2 billion and $1.3 billion for the first half of the financial year. It said on-time performance had improved, while remaining below its 75% target, and cancellation and baggage mishandling rates had reduced.

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