Qantas 737-800. By Rob Finlayson
Qantas (QF) faces an unprecedented industrial action after the Australian Licensed Aircraft Engineers Assn. (ALAEA) warned of a series of full-day strikes leading up to Christmas to support wages and job security claims (ATW Daily News, Sept. 20).
The ALAEA canceled Monday’s 4-hr. stoppage over a technical issue but 11,000 passengers were still disrupted.
The union immediately called for another 4-hr. stoppage for Friday and warned passengers to book with another airline.
ALAEA federal secretary Steve Purvinas said that by the Oct. 28 QF AGM, there “will be full-day stoppages.”
Purvinas also warned it would be a lengthy campaign and may last a year.
On Monday, QF was forced to bring forward, cancel or delay 77 domestic and 11 international flights because of the planned rolling 4-hr. stoppages, which were to hit Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane.
The Transport Workers Union, which represents baggage handlers, will hold two 2-hr. stoppages Thursday across the network.
According to QF, the total cost of ALAEA’s claim is A$165 million ($161 million)—plus A$95 million to build a new hangar.
QF said engineers have a list of demands, including a 15% increase in wages and allowances over three years, putting their salary at around A$170,000 in January 2013.
The airline’s long-haul pilots have taken a far more low-key approach to their dispute with the airline and have confined their action passenger announcements and uniform-related issues.
The pilots are pressing for wage and grade increases, plus job security provisions.