Standoff Not to Affect Services: Qantas

Qantas says industrial action being threatened by its senior engineers will have no impact on its services. The union is involved in a standoff with the airline over conditions and pay. In a meeting this afternoon, workers union unanimously agreed to ban out-of-hours work from next Friday.

The union says that it wants a new fatigue management policy, but Qantas says the major sticking point in negotiations has been demands for a 30 per cent pay rise. Qantas spokesman David Epstein said that the union's demands were unreasonable.

"The fact is most of Qantas' key competitors, including Virgin Blue, is talking to unions about wage freezes for next year or so followed by moderate wage outcomes. We don't have any other union that is talking about a 30 per cent wages claim over three years, including a 21 per cent increase in the first year", he said. In their defense, Catherine Bolger from the Association of Professional Engineers, Scientists and Managers said,

"There have recently been occurrences where in a 24-hour period some senior engineers were required to respond to complex engineering issues with less than five hours sleep between jobs. We need better ways of managing fatigue". The airline says it will not be grounding planes and schedules won't be affected.