Qantas planes are back in the skies tonight two days after CEO Alan Joyce grounded the entire fleet.
Independent umpire, Fair Work Australia, was forced to step in to clean up the mess, putting a stop to all industrial action and ordering the airline to resume services.
Candice Anderson reports.
Stranded passengers are starting to get back on rescheduled Qantas flights.
The air safety regulator gave its approval for the grounded aircraft to return to service by mid-afternoon today.
Fair Work Australia has put a band aid on the union/Qantas clash, enforcing a ban on all industrial action, a move they say is necessary to prevent significant damage to the country’s tourism and airline industries.
Qantas officials are now into damage control.
Alan Joyce, Qantas CEO: “We’re assessing our ability to put supplementary services on to clear the backwork and we’ll have four international supplementary services.”
The unions have welcomed the FWA decision.
Peter Biagini, Transport Workers Union: “The benefit for us is this will make the company more accountable, for the last eight to 10 meetings that we’ve had with them, they’ve just been stone walling us.”
The lockout may be over but the dispute is not.
Qantas and the three unions involved will spend the next 21 days in negotiations to resolve their differences.
But some customers say they will never fly Qantas again.
Vox 1: “I’ll definitely push our company to start using someone else, as well, ’cause I mean we’re obviously losing money now cause I’ve sat around for two days waiting for flights.”
However, others are praising the actions of Qantas airport staff.
Vox 2: “They’ve been very calm, they can’t seem to do enough. They’ve been really professional. I’ve spoken to them on the phone, I didn’t have to wait for very long either.”
There’s been a steady flow of Qantas customers turning up for check ins here at Brisbane Airport, but with a limited schedule flying Qantas says the backlog of passengers will take up to 24 hours to move.
If negotiations fail to reach a settlement, the next step is compulsory arbitration.
Candice Anderson, QUT News