Qantas settles pay disputes after a stand-off lasting more than a year

AUSTRALIA’S Qantas Airways has agreed a pay deal with the engineers’ union, one of the three unions that the airline has had a stand-off for over a year, The Australian newspaper said yesterday.

Qantas has reached an agreement with the engineers’ union and would present the deal to the labour umpire, the report said, adding separate disputes with baggage handlers, caterers and pilots would go to arbitration next year.

The stand-off with the unions led to Qantas management grounding the entire fleet in October in an attempt to force a resolution. The strikes and grounding cost Qantas A$194m (£124.5m) and forced the labour umpire to intervene.

The deal would give engineers annual pay rises of three per cent and allow Qantas to bring in new work practices, including a new licence category, a separate report on the “ninemsn” website said.

The engineers’ union has also backed away from its demand for a hangar to be built that would allow heavy maintenance on Airbus A380 double-decker jumbos to be performed in Australia, instead of in Asia, reports said.

Neither Qantas nor the engineers’ union could immediately be reached for comment.

The labour umpire, Fair Work Australia, is expected to ratify the deal by the end of December or early in the new year, the reports said.