Baggage handlers take wildcat action at Melbourne Airport

Baggage handlers take wildcat action at Melbourne Airport

Thousands of travellers faced delays at Melbourne Airport yesterday (14th February) after 45 Qantas baggage handlers went on strike mid-morning.

All of the airline's flights into and out of Tullamarine were affected by the six-hour walkout, which began at 10.30am, in a dispute centring on the length of workers' lunch breaks.

However, after a federal sitting of the Industrial Relations Commission, all the staff were ordered back to work about 4.30pm. A Qantas spokesman said the strike was illegal.

"This was a wildcat strike. We had no warning about it and so the Industrial Relations Commission ordered them back to work," the spokesman said.

He said all the staff returned to baggage handling peacefully.

Although a plan had been put in place to help passengers get their luggage and minimise the disruption of the workers' action, some aircraft were delayed by up to three hours by the action, which affected domestic and international services.