Delays as strikes hit Qantas again in Australia

SYDNEY — Thousands of international and domestic passengers faced delays in Australia on Friday as Qantas baggage handlers and ground staff staged their second strike just over a week.

By (AFP)

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Published: Fri 30 Sep 2011, 9:50 AM

Last updated: Tue 7 Apr 2015, 2:08 AM

The airline estimated some 8,500 travellers would be hit by the action with Transport Workers Union (TWU) members walking off the job for an hour from 8:00 am (2200 GMT Thursday) over stalled contract talks.

The Qantas website showed two domestic cancellations and delays to at least 23 flights, including services to Los Angeles, Hong Kong, Shanghai and Johannesburg.

It is the second major strike to hit the embattled airline in as many weeks, and follows separate stop work action by government-employed border security staff across Australia on Tuesday, delaying international travellers.

Qantas media chief Olivia Wirth apologised for the disruptions on one of the year’s busiest days for air travel.

It is the school holidays and a three-day weekend in Australia, and the popular Australian Rules and National Rugby League football codes are holding their grand finals, the latter involving the New Zealand Warriors team.

“It’s obviously a very busy weekend with the NRL and AFL grand finals and also school holidays,” Wirth told reporters.

“As a result of the number of people travelling we’ve minimised the cancellations and will be running operations as best we can.

“We’ve done everything possible to minimise the outcome but we do understand there’d be a lot of frustration - and why wouldn’t there be?”

Managers have been dispatched to catering and baggage handling roles.

Qantas is facing industrial revolt from all three of its staff unions — the TWU and those representing pilots and engineers — following the announcement of an Asia-focused restructure that will see 1,000 jobs axed.

Only pilots are yet to escalate their dispute over future pay and conditions to full-blown strikes.

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