Air travel chaos as Qantas strike worsens

Striking engineers at Qantas has caused major disruptions to air travel today, with six flights from Melbourne and Sydney cancelled.

About 5000 engineers are expected to walk off the job over the next two days and the airline is expected to cancel 18 flights tomorrow along the eastern seaboard

A spokeswoman from Qantas has said that those on cancelled flights would be booked on other flights and they expect the disruption to passengers to be minimal. Engineers are striking for up to four hours today in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and Cairns. Tomorrow it is expected to spread to Perth.

Unfortunately it doesn’t look like any resolution is in the winds. Engineers are fighting to secure a 5% payrise. Qantas is adamant it will not move beyond 3%.

Qantas executive general manager for people, Kevin Brown, told ABC Radio the price keeps going up. The recent proposal tabled by ALAEA national secretary Steve Purvinas was for 5.7%, he says. “So we are a fair way apart.”

However Purvinas told another radio station that Qantas is not negotiating. “Three per cent – take it or leave it,”‘ he told Macquarie Radio. “This has been their position all along. Something has to change.”

Brown says Qantas had a “whole range of contingencies” to deal with the disruption, including alternative labour.

The union fears the airline is talking about bringing in strike breakers. Meanwhile business and school holiday travellers are left hoping their plans will not be too disrupted by the warring parties.

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