Qantas strike to hit NRL grand final

Qantas Transport Union Workers will stop work for an hour on Friday, and customs officers are due to take industrial action on Thursday and Saturday. Photo /  Sarah Ivey
Qantas Transport Union Workers will stop work for an hour on Friday, and customs officers are due to take industrial action on Thursday and Saturday. Photo / Sarah Ivey

Qantas will be hit by more strike action this long weekend as families head interstate and football fans converge on grand finals.

The Transport Workers Union (TWU) says members will stop work at all major Australian airports for one hour at 8am on Friday.

Qantas says the strike will disrupt the travel plans of thousands of passengers including those flying to Melbourne for the AFL grand finals, New Zealanders headed to Sydney for the NRL grand final and families travelling for the school holidays.

The airline will provide additional flights and increased capacity out of Auckland to cater for those travelling to the NRL grand final between New Zealand and Manly on Sunday.

"Due to the size of demand, we are excited to provide additional seats to cater for fans," said Qantas acting regional general manager New Zealand and Pacific Islands, Shirley Field.

Friday's strike by 3800 staff is part of an ongoing campaign of protected industrial action by baggage handlers and ground staff over pay and conditions.

The one hour stoppage was called to update members on negotiations with Qantas and recommend further action, the TWU said in a statement, accusing airline management of "a deliberate war of attrition".

But Qantas said the TWU was holding passengers to ransom and trying to maximise disruption and argues its claim for a 15 per cent pay increase over the next three years is unsustainable.

Qantas spokeswoman Oliva Wirth said Qantas engineers will also strike for one hour in Sydney on Tuesday afternoon and in Melbourne on Friday, causing expected delays for "several thousand" passengers.

Meanwhile, international air travellers will face delays at Australian airports this week and next as customs officers take industrial action amid a standoff over pay and conditions.

The protected action this week will affect passengers at international terminals on Tuesday at Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, Adelaide and Cairns.

Sydney's international airport will also be affected on Thursday and Saturday, along with Cairns airport.

The action comes after a stalemate in negotiations on a new enterprise agreement with Australian Customs and Border Protection. The previous agreement expired at the end of June.

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