Melbourne, Oct 30: Australia's industrial tribunal today ordered an end to the unprecedented industrial dispute at Qantas that forced the country's national carrier to ground its entire fleet, hitting nearly 70,000 passengers worldwide.
A day after the extraordinary decision to ground the global Qantas fleet, the battle between the world's 10th-largest airline and the labour unions went before Fair Work Australia, while the government came under increasing pressure to act unilaterally to end the dispute.
“We have decided to terminate protected industrial action in relation to each of the proposed enterprise agreements immediately,” Fair Work Australia said in a statement after a marathon meeting here, clearing the way for Qantas planes to start flying again.
“We have decided that in the particular circumstances of this case, which on the evidence include the particular vulnerability of the tourism industry to uncertainty, suspension will not provide sufficient protection against the risk of significant damage,” it said.
“We should do what we can to avoid significant damage to the tourism industry.”
Nearly 70,000 people have been affected by the cancellation of hundreds of flights in 22 countries. Qantas flies thrice weekly between Mumbai and Brisbane via Singapore, according to the website of the airline.
The strike has already embarrassed Prime Minister Julia Gillard, as some of the leaders who attended the just-ended Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) were due to fly on Qantas planes.
Gillard said the dispute between Qantas and unions needed to be ended.