Qantas has accused the Australian Licenced Aircraft Engineers Association (ALAEA) of ruining has the travel plans of more than 11,000 passengers following the cancellation of a strike.
The Australian flag-carrier was forced to cancel 40 flights, delay 24 flights by up to three and a half hours and bring forward 14 flights earlier today due to the planned four hour strikes this afternoon in Melbourne, Brisbane and Sydney.
However, the strike was called off just three hours before it was due to begin, too late for scheduled services to be reinstated.
This is the second time this year that the union has planned a strike and then called it off at the last minute, argued Qantas.
It also comes after the Transport Workers Union cancelled planned strike action at the last minute on Friday.
In a sign this was an intentional “game” by the union, the media were notified that the strikes have been cancelled however Qantas has still not been formally notified, the airline fumed.
Qantas Group Executive Government and Corporate Affairs Olivia Wirth said the union was clearly intent on causing severe disruptions and making customers book with other airlines.
“We apologise to all of our customers who have been delayed because of cynical games from the union.
“We would like to re-instate services but it’s too late. You can’t just turn an airline on and off.
“The engineers’ union has waited until a few hours before the planned strike to call it off so that passengers are still disrupted and the Qantas business has been damaged but their members don’t lose any money from going on strike.”
Qantas rejected the “baseless claims” from the union that a threatening letter was sent to employees.
Since unions commenced strike action six weeks ago 46,500 passengers have been impacted on 348 cancelled or delayed flights.
ALAEA leadership blamed the decision to cancel the strike on threatening actions from Qantas – accusing the airline of illegally threatening to withhold up to seven hours pay for the time not worked.
ALAEA federal secretary Steve Purvinas said: “The airline is playing dirty pool with our members by threatening them for taking lawful industrial action.”