Thu, Jun 19, 2008
Labor Action Could Go On Indefinitely
Given the economic woes facing most airlines worldwide, now
isn't the best time for a labor strike to hinder operations even
more... but that's the scenario facing Qantas.
Engineers at the Australian flag-carrier will reportedly begin
striking next week, according to the Australian Broadcasting Corp.
The engineers say that even considering rising fuel costs for the
airline, Qantas can still afford to pay them more than current
wages... which union reps say are below the level of inflation.
Hundreds of engineers plan to strike Monday and Tuesday, at
Qantas bases in four cities. They'll do so in shifts, so airline
operations aren't totally shut down... but those strikes could go
Engineers represented by the Australian Licensed Aircraft
Engineers Association are asking for a five percent pay raise. The
request comes as Qantas announced last month a slew of route
cancellations, and wage freezes for most employees.
Qantas has countered the union's request with a three-percent
raise... but officials say that won't cut it.
"They've basically increased their fares but called it a fuel
excise to cover the cost of rising fuel," Steve Purvinas, federal
secretary for the ALAEA, said. "But it must be remembered, as well,
that our aircraft engineers drive to work and pay for petrol as
well so they're got rising fuel costs too.
"When you say that they can only have a three per cent wage
rise, it's unacceptable."
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