Australian passengers queuing up outside airport terminals as unions threaten more delays

The world’s travel woes have made their way to Australia. Long queues and equally long delays at Australian airports are set to get worse as baggage handlers across the east coast initiate industrial action at a lunchtime meeting today.

The strike threatens to impact baggage handling for up to 20 airlines including Singapore Airlines, Qantas, Etihad, and Air Canada.

With cancellations and delays starting to beleaguer passengers, now baggage handlers are preparing to strike after talks over better pay and conditions ground to a halt check-in counters encountered a raft of security issues.

A computer glitch this morning at Sydney Airport impacted security screenings, clogging check-in and causing more delays. Early morning fog at Sydney Airport yesterday morning added to some technical issues which saw hundreds of passengers forced to queue outside the terminal. Airport staff later apologised for the problems saying that security issues forced a lane of their security checkpoints to be closed down.

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“A technical issue has meant we’re temporarily operating one less security lane than normal in T2.”

There’s also been the leaking of a damning memo that revealed safety fears expressed by airport ground crew bosses as the check-in processes and security screening descended into chaos. They also complained that untrained foreign workers were being hastily shipped in to help.

“Handlers buckling to demands to rush their work had caused ‘aircraft damage’ and ‘serious damage’ to ground crew transport.”

The industry’s baggage handlers are preparing to strike, in addition to the other airport staff problems, as talks failed to progress with unions and bosses clashing over a new pay deal.

At the centre is an Emirates-owned third party ground crew called Dnata, currently used by 20 airlines including Qantas, Etihad, and Singapore Airlines. Many of their staff were axed during the pandemic as borders closed and airlines grounded planes.

Dnata is telling their crews to ignore “pressure from airlines” to “work faster or cut corners” after a series of security incidents over the past fortnight.

“We stay committed to working with our trade union partners and continue our conversations with the Transport Workers’ Union and employees in good faith while working to minimise the impact of potential industrial action on our customers’ operations.

Dnata staff have been complaining that they are currently “overworked and underpaid”.

Ground staff in Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane are voting today on whether they should walk off the job over the safety and security concerns and a proposed pay review. The Transport Workers Union says, that if strikes go ahead, they will affect both domestic and international travel.

Travellers said the situation was pandemonium and trying to get onto their flights on Monday was a “total nightmare.”

‘Worst security queue I’ve seen in 30 years of travel. I’ll probably be in the queue to get through security longer than I’m in the air.”

Meanwhile, airport and airline executives have taken to social media to air their grievances against the unions and their proposed strike action.

Qantas Domestic and International CEO Andrew David said the union had chosen the wrong time to bring out their action.

“If the union is going to take this action then it will impact all of those airlines and it will impact everybody in our international airports.”

Australian passengers queuing up outside airport terminals as unions threaten more delays | News by ThaigerSOURCE: Daily Mail | Nine News

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Tim Newton

Tim joined The Thaiger as one of its first employees in 2018 as an English news writer/editor and then began to present The Thaiger's Daily news show in 2020, Thailand News Today (or TNT for short). He has lived in Thailand since 2011, having relocated from Australia.

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