Australian airline Qantas faces engineers strike

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Tuesday, May 10, 2011

File photograph of a Qantas aircraft.
Image: Superjumbo.

Engineers from the Australian airline Qantas are to hold a one-hour strike on Friday amid fears over job security. The strike will likely cause disruption for thousands of passengers.

The strike was called after negotiations between the ALAEA, an engineers' union, and the airline, broke down. "What interests us more is job security, and for aircraft engineers that means simply being able to carry out aircraft maintenance in Australia," Steve Purvinas, the secretary of the ALAEA, said. It is likely the strike will be the first in a line of industrial action.

Purvinas said last-ditch negotiations between the ALAEA and Qantas before a Fair Work Australia judge yesterday had "hit a brick wall." Analysts say the strike will probably have a huge impact on Qantas flights. The airline said it was "extremely disappointed" at the strike action but said disruption would be minimal. "We will not be able to negotiate on some of the demands they have put forward, they are simply unacceptable," an airline spokesperson said.

The ALAEA said the main concern was that Qantas was outsourcing more work overseas and maintenance checks on aircraft are becoming less regular. Pervinas said Qantas engineers were "sick of the systematic dismantling of our industry by Qantas management."