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Qantas adjusts to flight disruptions as industrial action looms

written by australianaviation.com.au | July 1, 2011
Qantas is placing more 767s on flights to and from Melbourne on Monday. (Seth Jaworski)

Qantas has announced adjustments to its flying schedule and staff numbers in preparation for expected strike action by the ALAEA next week, as both parties struggle to reach an agreement over pay and working conditions.

The airline will consolidate its flying schedule and put widebody 767s on more routes out of Melbourne on Monday for the first of a series of nationwide two-hour work stoppages by Qantas’s engineering staff scheduled for next week.

“This will ensure the vast majority of customers remain on scheduled services and others can be moved onto flights within 15 minutes of their original departure time,” Qantas said in a statement.

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Work stoppages are also due to follow in Perth on Tuesday and Brisbane on Wednesday, with Qantas continuing to assess the impact on services to and from those airports. Meanwhile, the ALAEA has stood by its offer of ‘strike breakers’ allowing rostered off engineers to work on Qantas aircraft during the work stoppages on overtime rates.

Qantas has since rejected the offer, with group executive operations Lyell Strambi saying the airline wanted “to reach an agreement with our licensed engineers, and are willing to negotiate reasonable increases in pay and conditions, but we simply cannot agree to all of the union’s demands”.

ALAEA federal secretary Steve Purvinas has urged Qantas to reconsider, placing the onus on the airline to resolve the strike action. ”It’s an offer that Qantas should accept – if they don’t, it’s them that [are] intentionally disrupting services,” Purvinas told The Age.

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