11-29-2001, 11:41 AM
Join Date: Sep 2001
Location: HKG - Hong Kong
Qantas maintenance workers walk off the job
| Almost 700 Qantas maintenance workers from Sydney and Melbourne have walked off the job.
The snap strike was called by workers yesterday, angry at Qantas for failing to reach an agreement with the Australian Workers Union (AWU) about a pay issue.
Qantas is still intent on applying a pay freeze until December next year to compensate for an industry downturn, but the workers perceive the move as a pay cut.
The 200 workers in Sydney were ordered back to work yesterday by the Industrial Relations Commission and they will meet this morning to decide whether to obey the ruling.
The 500 workers in Melbourne will remain off the job until Tuesday.
A Qantas spokesman says he does not expect the snap strike to affect flights.
The AWU's Bill Shorten says his members do not accept the need for a pay freeze at Qantas.
"Qantas at the moment enjoys 90 per cent plus of the Australian domestic market and we think it's a bit opportunistic of them just to say that because of international events, engineers who maintain domestic aeroplanes and they've got a domestic monopoly," Mr Shorten said.
"You know, we understand the debate about a wage freeze but Qantas is actually trying to cut in real terms, the pay of our members."