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Over 3000 Qantas staff to strike

The Transport Workers Union (TWU) announced on Wednesday that its members would participate in work stoppages for four hours on September 20.

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TWU lead negotiator Scott Connolly said Qantas left them with no other choice.

“TWU members have been patient and negotiated in good faith.

Qantas has, however, sought to frustrate every move to secure our members’ jobs and decent pay and conditions,” Mr Connolly said in a

statement.

“TWU members will take this industrial action as Qantas has left them with no choice.”

A TWU spokesman told AAP that about 3500 baggage handlers and catering staff were expected to participate in the strike, which would roll out across the nation mainly from around 7am (AEST).

The stoppages come after 95 per cent of members voted in favour of taking industrial action during ballots run by the Australian Electoral Commission during the past month, the TWU said.

Qantas has attacked the stoppages, saying it could affect flights for a 48-hour period.

“The union is intentionally disrupting the travel plans of Australians,” Qantas group executive Olivia Wirth said in a statement.

“It is effectively holding passengers to ransom as it seeks pay rises and attempting to place restrictions on Qantas.”

Ms Wirth said the move was part of a “coordinated campaign” against the beleaguered airline by the pilots union, the licensed aircraft maintenance engineers union and the TWU, which are all taking some form of industrial action over this period.

She said the airline was assessing the impact the union-led strikes would have on airports across the country, and domestic and international flights.

“We are currently developing contingency plans to minimise disruptions to our customers as a result of the unions’ action,” Ms Wirth said.

A TWU spokesman said members were carrying out the work stoppages to ensure job security and prevent the offshoring of jobs.

But Qantas says the TWU is demanding significant pay increases and new restrictions on labour flexibility that would make Qantas less competitive.