Qantas and Customs workers strike

Thousands of airline passengers are facing a day of mayhem as Qantas and Customs workers strike over pay and working conditions at airports around the country.

Nearly 7,000 Qantas passengers will be disrupted by baggage handlers, caterers and ramp crews going on strike this morning, while Customs staff at international airports will also strike over a pay dispute.

Qantas workers walked off the job for two hours from 6:00am (AEDT) for two-hour stop work meetings after talks yesterday failed to resolve a pay and job security dispute. Separate two-hour stop work meetings will be held again this afternoon.

Justin Kelly from Qantas says it had to cancel 14 flights and delay 38 others.

“The strikes [have been] deliberately targeted to hit the busy morning and afternoon peak periods. They are in two-hour blocks in the AM and PM,” he said.

In Canberra, union members will halt work in one four-hour block from 4:00pm. But The Transport Workers Union (TWU) denies its industrial action is targeted at politicians.

The TWU’s Ben Sweaney says today’s action by baggage handlers has been calculated on a shift-by-shift basis for each airport.

“Regrettably, as a consequence, in the ACT parliamentarians and their staff may experience some delays,” he said.

“However, all unnecessary delays are attributable to Qantas as the company has had several days notice to put in contingency plans, to avoid unnecessary delays.”

Travellers will also face delays at international airports as Customs officers walk off the job.

Customs staff will strike at airports for up to four hours in support of a 13 per cent pay claim over three years.

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