17:28 AEDST Fri 30 Nov 2001
Qantas workers to continue strike action:
Qantas Airlines maintenance workers are continuing strikes and stoppages, but the action is not affecting flights.
Maintenance unions said more than 2,000 workers walked off the job yesterday in response to the airline's push for an 18-month wage freeze.
Some 500 maintenance workers at Melbourne's Tullamarine Airport have vowed to stay out until Tuesday with maintenance unions threatening further action to come.
But Qantas airline spokesman Des Sullivan said flights had not been affected by the action.
"Members of other engineering unions are not participating and will continue to provide full maintenance in accordance with aircraft safety regulations," he said.
The airline had about 5,800 maintenance workers, he said.
The action is the second in as many weeks by members of the Australian Workers Union (AWU) and the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union (AMWU).
About 120 workers at Bankstown Airport in Sydney's south-west returned to work this morning after striking yesterday.
Maintenance workers from the AMWU and AWU at Sydney Airport this morning walked off the job for four hours.
AWU organiser Matt Thistlewaite said the workers would be staging rolling action over a 24-hour shift and further action was expected next week.
"They worked half of their shift but have downed tools," he said.
"There's three shifts and each shift is staging a four-hour strike.
"There will be more action next week."
AWU national secretary Bill Shorten said the wage freeze would result in cuts to conditions when workers' morale at Qantas was already at an all-time low.
"Qantas is offering no hope to the workforce to be able to better themselves and that's why this engineering dispute is carrying on," Mr Shorten said.
"It's not just about the wage freeze, it's the death of hope for our workers to improve their skills."