Qantas has grounded its entire domestic and international fleets indefinitely until unions representing pilots and ground staff can reach an agreement with the Australian airline over pay and conditions.
The airline has been forced to ground aircraft and reschedule flights for weeks because of ongoing strike action by three unions: the Australian Licenced Aircraft Engineers Association (ALAEA), Transport Workers Union (TWU) and the Australian and International Pilots Association (AIPA) – representing engineers, ramp, baggage and catering staff and long-haul pilots respectively.
The strikes have been over pay and concerns that their jobs are being moved overseas.
Tensions have been escalating since the airline announced a restructuring plan in August, involving the loss of 1,000 jobs affecting management, engineering, pilots and cabin crew.
Joyce told a press conference on Saturday that Qantas can no longer meet the unions’ “impossible demands,” with accruing losses from industrial action costing the airline A$15m a week.
The airline’s decision to ground all flights with immediate effect comes as the union representing baggage handlers and crew said they were meeting this weekend to consider more strike action.