Australia Panel Orders End to Qantas Strike

Posted October 30th, 2011 at 12:15 pm (UTC-5)
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An Australian labor tribunal mediating a strike by Qantas Airways employees has ordered worker's unions to end their job action and return to the negotiating table.

The order came early Monday, less than two days after a walkout over pay and working conditions prompted the airline to ground its fleet, stranding tens of thousands of passengers across the globe. The unions represent pilots, licensed engineers, baggage handlers, ground workers and catering staff.

The tribunal said Qantas and the three labor unions now have 21 days to reach a deal or face binding arbitration.

Flights were expected to resume later Monday.

Qantas chief Alan Joyce warned Sunday that the airline would, in his words, “die a slow death” if the strike continued.

The unions wanted the tribunal to suspend rather than terminate the strike, to allow the job action to resume if further negotiations fail to yield a deal.