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Qantas pilots threaten to join maintenance engineers as strike action expands

11-May-2011 11:17 AM

Qantas’ engineers union, the Australian Licensed Aircraft Engineers Association (ALAEA), stated it plans to expand industrial action into next week (The Australian/The Australian Financial Review, 11-May-2011). All entitled members of the union will stop work between 6am and 6.30am and between 5pm and 5.30pm on Monday, according to secretary Steve Purvinas. The union will also limit work by not using Qantas vehicles at Melbourne Tullamarine, not using computers to order spare parts in Sydney and restricting towing of Boeing 737 aircraft across all Australian airports for the entirety of Monday 16-May-2011. Qantas Engineering’s executive manager Chris Nassenstein restated the seriousness of problems facing the airline and that the union’s tactics were jeopardising Qantas’ future.

Meanwhile, the Australian and International Pilots Association (AIPA) stated it has met to discuss its strategy ahead of talks with Qantas, expected today (11-May-2011) (The Australian, 11-May-2011). AIPA is yet to apply to Fair Work Australia for a ballot on protected industrial action and is unlikely to do so until next week, but officials have warned that the pilots' patience was “wafer-thin”.

Qantas: “The message I’m getting from PIA [protected industrial action] is that you [ALAEA] believe you have to hold a gun to our heads to get what you want. Is this a test of the new management? If that’s so we’ve been put in a difficult position. If we give in to the tactics used last time, we’re destroying the credibility of the need for change and losing the opportunity for genuine job security by maintaining out competitiveness.” Chris Nassenstein, executive director – Engineering. Source: The Australian Financial Review, 11-May-2011.