Australian airline Qantas Airways’ talks with the unions of pilots and ground-staff were unsuccessful in reaching any new agreement. Each party has concluded that the issue would now go to obligatory arbitration.
Qantas Airways has been involved in a bitter conflict with employee unions over pay and moving jobs to Asia for some time now. But it seems that the dispute will now come to an end as Fair Work Australia is set to interfere through binding arbitration with talks between the warring parties failing to reach any logical conclusion.
On Monday, negotiations between Qantas and the Australian Licensed Aircraft Engineers Association (ALAEA), the only holdout for a negotiated settlement, failed to crop up any sort of agreement. Now all parties must accept Australia's industrial umpire settlement.
“We haven't been able to reach a new agreement with the ALAEA, so will now let the independent umpire decide,” Qantas' Chief Executive Officer, Alan Joyce, said in a statement.
The development is seen as good news for Qantas Airways by industry insiders as no party can engage in any sort of industrial action while the arbitration is in process. The Flying Kangaroo would surely be relieved by the fact that there would be no more travel disruptions. Last month, the airline grounded all of its flights to force the Australia Government to interfere. As a result, an arbitration court ordered to put an end to flights grounding and offered the carrier and unions 21 days to arrive at an agreement.
Qantas Airways and the Transport Workers Union (TWU) failed to reach a fresh agreement on pay and conditions for more than 3,500 employees.
“Qantas is extremely disappointed that despite over six months of negotiations and a further three weeks of conciliation talks before Fair Work Australia the TWU has refused to remove its unreasonable demands,” Qantas said in a statement.
Alan Joyce also promised support to the government in case TWU launches a legal challenge.
Speaking about Australian and International Pilots Association (AIPA), Mr Joyce said: “We did make some progress in negotiations with movement on both sides however in the end we were unable to reach a new agreement for our 1,600 long-haul pilots.”
Customers Returning: Qantas
It seems Qantas is finally beginning to see some light at the end of the tunnel. As per the airline, customers have returned “in large numbers” since the carrier has resumed flying after its fleet grounding episode. Thousands of travellers with bookings on flights to and from Australia were affected by the action. Qantas has tried real hard to tempt travellers, offering them perks, cheap flight tickets and even free air tickets (to those who were affected by fleet grounding). With peak holiday travel season coming up, the airline has gone all out to woo frequent flyers by providing them more perks, offering them cheap flight tickets, etc.
Alan Joyce said that customers can carry on to book flights with total confidence that their flights will not be interrupted by industrial action.