Qantas Strikers Protest By Working With Only Left Hands

Posted Jul 13th 2011 08:30 AMUpdated Jul 13th 2011 08:31 AM




Qantas employees, many of whom spent last month participating in rolling strikes, are getting creative: Several union engineers announced that, starting Friday, they will continue to work, but only with their left hands.

The unusual protest was triggered by an ongoing labor debate. Reuters reports that Qantas engineers and pilots are concerned that their jobs are being outsourced to Asian workers. The rising cost of fuel has exacerbated the problem as the airline has been forced to lower overhead, affecting salaries and hours.

The one-handed protest comes as Tiger Airways, a Singapore-based discount airline popular in Australia, has been grounded down under over safety concerns, forcing Qantas to scramble to get travelers home. The protest seems designed to keep fliers moving without caving completely on the engineers job-security demands.

The Wall Street Journal reports that the airline has expressed concerns that the decision of the right-handed engineers to use their left hands will put passengers in danger, but the union quickly pointed out that the men are very senior engineers and quite experienced. Oh, good to know then.

The airline's pilots, meanwhile, have voted to take industrial action for the first time in forty years. To give a sense of how angry the pilots are: 94 percent of them are in favor of some sort demonstration. Now Qantas executives are waiting to see what form the action ends up taking.

The engineers will probably be able to stop using their hands altogether if the pilots refuse to fly.

Filed Under: Air Travel, News

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Q. How do you make a small fortune in aviation ? Start with a large one. Aviation--the airlines--air travel in general requires A LOT OF CAPITAL--you can't run a safe airline operation on a shoe string budget--moves like this one to outsource labor is a sure sign that SAFETY will be compromised-- it should be "SAFETY FIRST"

July 14 2011 at 10:48 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply


July 13 2011 at 10:10 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Unions, great, just great.

July 13 2011 at 3:28 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Airlines are blamed when they seek the lowest bidder. How do you shop for an airline ticket?
Union jobs will be protected only when the public demands service by them. If you buy the cheapest ticket, you will get the cheapest ride. If you shop at Walmart, or buy gas from BP, you are rewarding the kind of business that they are.

July 13 2011 at 2:23 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

In keeping with the direction that water drains in the sink DownUnder, why not just make left-handed turns?

July 13 2011 at 1:57 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

How do you wash it?

July 13 2011 at 12:38 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Do you think that the cheaper Asian workers will be also safer? When my father's company started outsourcing and he asked me to picket with him, I did nothing. When my brother's job was under attack because of outsourcing to cheaper foreign labor I did help at the town hall meeting. Now my job is under attack because my company wishes to outsource alot of departments to cheaper waged employees, since my father and brother no longer have jobs they should not have a problem helping me keep mine.

July 13 2011 at 12:07 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Whether or not one likes unions, we all should be concerned when aircraft maintenance is outsourced to the LOWEST bidder. Look at what's happened to cabin cleanliness and baggage handling since that became the norm. I dare one person to say those areas have gotten better.

July 13 2011 at 12:01 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

Yeah. That's the way to show how indispensable they are. NOT. Unions suck.

July 13 2011 at 11:21 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to thegrrrr8est's comment

My Union benefits certainly do not suck, in fact, my pension and health benefits are keeping me quite comfortable in my retirement, things I busted my hump for while I was working to EARN them, and now I am enjoying the fruits of my labor! How about you with your non-union job??

July 13 2011 at 12:52 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to pozboys's comment

I spent 20 yrs sending mu retierment pmts to the union hall to manage, I recieve annual memos as to how mu retirement went from $1800 mo to $450 a mo. private unions suck, you need to suck off the tit of taxpayers in state and federal unions till there are no more taxpayers.
Unions suck

July 13 2011 at 1:56 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down

You and your kind are exactly the reason for offshore outsourcing.

While you were "busting your hump", yeah right you were union remember, more like humping your bust, I was actually working, doing business with large Detroit manufacturers whose cost of labor was upwards of $100.00 per hour.

Now my business will be sold for a figure in the 7 digit range and a 10 year lease of our commercial facilities paid to me.

But damn, I have to pay my own insurance. waah,

July 13 2011 at 2:01 PM Report abuse rate up rate down

Only their left hands? Hey, what kind of service are they doing?

July 13 2011 at 11:03 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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