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Monday, October 31, 2011

Qantas to resume flights after arbitration hearing ends

An Australian labour tribunal ordered Qantas Airways to resume flights and its unions to immediately terminate all industrial action and return to the negotiating table to resolve a dispute after the airline grounded its entire global fleet.

Qantas says some flights could resume as soon as Monday morning.

It could take several days for the backlog of flights to clear.

The Australian government ordered the arbitration hearing after the carrier grounded all of its aircraft amid a dispute with striking staff, leaving tens of thousands of passengers stranded worldwide.

In the last few weeks, workers have staged strikes and refused overtime work over concerns that some of the airline's 35,000 jobs would be moved overseas.

Yesterday a Qantas spokesman said 600 flights had been cancelled because of the industrial action - affecting 70,000 passengers.

The strikes have cost the airline 15 million Australian dollars (£10 million) a week.

The national carrier, which made a pre-tax profit of $552 million in the year to June 30, plans to cut 1,000 jobs and order $9 billion worth of new aircraft as part of a makeover to salvage its loss-making international business.

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