Union leaders and Qantas management staff are meeting at Fair Work Australia to try to solve their industrial differences.

Qantas engineers have postponed their planned strike action to October the 28th, hoping their sign of good faith will help them reach an agreement.

Maddison Nunn reports.


The action against the company has involved more than 7,000 workers including engineers, baggage handlers, cabin crew and pilots.

Several strikes have already occurred in airports around Australia.

President of the engineer’s union, Steve Purvinas, says engineers have stopped their industrial action for now, to show they’re serious about the negotiations.

And pilots say they’re trying to minimise the amount of disruption as well.

Anil Lambert, International Pilots Association: “Pilots are extremely reluctant to take any industrial action that’s gonna disrupt passengers, but it’s quite difficult when management is doing everything possible to ramp up the situation and excacerbate this dispute.”

CEO of Qantas, Alan Joyce, is yet to respond to the union’s move but he has said if the strike action continues it could result in sackings.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard is urging the unions and Qantas to come to an agreement.

Julia Gillard, Prime Minister: “I am concerned about its impact on Qantas itself, on other businesses and of course on passengers.”

Ms Gillard is concerned about the impact the dispute could have on the economy. But Virgin Australia confirmed they will increase their capacity to accomodate, adding more than 31,000 seats per week over the past three months

Qantas currently outsources some pilots from overseas, and pilots involved in the action are pushing for only Australian Qantas-trained pilots to remain employed.

Passengers have mixed opinions about what this could mean for them.

Vox 1: “I’m an engineer, I would say use your own people and not from some other countries.”

Vox 2: “I dunno if it’s cheaper labour or whatever they’re bringing in, but… yeah.”

Vox 3: “Doesn’t worry me one way or the other.”

Sixty-thousand Qantas passengers have had their travel plans disrupted by the bitter dispute.

Maddison Nunn, QUT News.