Qantas are set to resume services as early as this afternoon after Fair Work Australia ruled to stop both sides from engaging in industrial disputes.
The decision, announced at 2am, requires that both Qantas and the unions resolve their differences in the next 21 days. Failing successful resolution, a further 21 days can be applied for, after which time FWA can intervene and make a binding arbitration if no agreement is reached.
A very emotional Jeff Lawrence – the ACTU secretary – was first to respond. He stated that victory came by way of the FWA statement that said, in part, “… it is unlikely that the actions of the unions – even if taken together – would threaten tourism or transport. It was Qantas that did national harm”. It was noted that Qantas staff industrial action has not had a notable effect on the economy.
The President of Fair Work Australia, Geoffrey Guidice, said that the decision made because of the damage to the economy and tourism that continued industrial action would have. A suspension of the industrial action was avoided because the arbitration panel determined it was likely industrial action would continue.
Qantas said in a statement yesterday that 68,000 passengers were displaced in some way – with nearly 13,000 of them overseas. Assuming the Civil Aviation Safety Authority permits Qantas to start operating today, passengers can still experience (and should plan for) significant delays. It is rumoured that V Australia is considering domestic operations in their Boeing 777 aircraft commencing on Tuesday to cope with increased demand. This is in addition to additional services and aircraft already injected into their network.
Both sides are claiming the ruling as a victory.
Following is audio sourced from a live feed shortly after the ruling. We apologise for the poor audio quality.
You can download the MP3 file (23.5MB) here.
- FULL AUDIO of the Qantas Press Conference: 31st October 2011
- Qantas Grounds its Domestic and International Operations
- Alan Joyce audio from the Qantas Press Conference (grounding the airline): 29th October 2011
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- Qantas QF74 Uncontained Engine Failure – Video & Pics
- New Qantas Advertising Campaign
- Australian Pilot Dispute of 1989