Over 3000 Qantas baggage handlers, ground staff, catering and other employees are planning to take strike action that could disrupt flights for up to 48 hours, according to reports.
The Transport Workers Union (TWU) has confirmed that its members plan to participate in work stoppages for four hours on September 20. The stoppages will be accompanied by a range of administrative bans, including refusal to perform higher duties and paperwork bans.
These measures are classified as protected industrial action following TWU members voting in favour of taking action during ballots run by the Australian Electoral Commission over the past month.
A Qantas spokesperson explained: “The TWU is demanding significant pay increases and new restrictions on labour flexibility which would make Qantas less competitive and prevent us from responding to volatility in the aviation industry.”
TWU lead negotiator Scott Connolly defended the TWU’s decision to strike, saying: “TWU members have been patient and negotiated in good faith. Qantas has, however, sought to frustrate every move to secure our members’ jobs and decent pay and conditions.”
He went on to add some of the recent developments at Qantas which staff have had to put up with, such as the restructuring plan to sack workers across Qantas’ operations and the plan to relocate key aviation businesses to Asia.
“TWU members in ground crews, presentation staff and catering have been seeking certainty from management about new terms of pay, conditions and job security since the old enterprise bargaining agreement expired months ago”.
He added: “TWU members will take this industrial action as Qantas has left them with no choice.”