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Qantas strike to hit 6 000 passengers

Sep 19 2011 07:17 AFP

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Qantas cancels all Sydney, Melbourne flights

 

Sydney - Australian carrier Qantas on Monday said it would cancel 28 flights and delay a further 27 due to a ground staff strike this week which would impact more than 6 000 passengers.

The strike will hit most of the major Australian airports during Tuesday's morning peak period, with 3 800 baggage handlers and other ground staff to walk off the job for four hours over stalled contract negotiations.

Qantas said it would cancel 28 flights and delay another 27 by up to 35 minutes due to the industrial action, which it hoped to tackle by deploying larger aircraft and using management staff in ground roles.

The airline could not immediately say whether any international services would be hit.

Delays could linger for up to two days due to bans on paperwork and other jobs that will accompany the Transport Workers Union (TWU) strike, the airline added, while apologising to the more than 6 100 customers who would be hit.

"The TWU is intent on causing disruptions to Qantas passengers and we are doing everything we possibly can to reduce the delays and cancellations," said Qantas media chief Olivia Wirth.

"We have been in negotiations with the TWU since May and are willing to offer reasonable pay increases. We encourage the TWU to remain at the negotiating table instead of going on strike."

Qantas is locked in a bruising industrial dispute with the unions over pay and conditions and tensions flared last month when the airline announced an Asia-focused restructure that will see 1 000 workers sacked.

Pilots and engineers are already undertaking low-level industrial action against the airline but have threatened to escalate their campaign.

Tensions flared earlier this month when Qantas chief Alan Joyce was handed a 71% pay increase to Aus$5m, which the unions described as "hypocrisy" in the face of job cuts.

qantas  |  air travel  |  airlines
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