Brisbane airport picket line resolves union wage dispute

Maintenance workers employed by a Qantas contractor will return to work after picketing the domestic terminal at Brisbane Airport over a wages dispute.

BCS Infrastructure Support, which is largely responsible for baggage handling, locked out 26 workers at the airport at 6pm (AEST) on Sunday.
 
Electrical Trades Union organiser Garry Rogers told reporters the union started a picket line at 6.30am (AEST) in response and by 11am (AEST) the industrial action had succeeded.
 
Workers will return to their shifts at 6pm (AEST) on Monday after the union struck a new wages deal with the contractor.
 
Rogers said they would be back paid to July 1 last year and would receive better pay and conditions.
 
The industrial action was the latest in a bitter feud that has included strikes, he said.
 
"The look on the boys' faces said it all," Rogers told reporters.
 
"First they were shocked and then it was just jubilation.
 
"They were doing high fives and skipping to the car park."
 
Rogers said the result would not have been possible without the industrial action and subsequent media coverage.
 
The organiser said he wanted to thank BCS and Qantas for "taking a reasonable line" and allowing his members to get back to work.
 
"During the course of this (dispute), I've got to know these guys pretty well," he said.
 
"You've got guys here who are on $455 a week take home and they're paying rent with a wife and two kids and the wife's not working.
 
"You're going `How do you survive?' and that's what really touched me and inspired me on this one."
 
A Qantas spokeswoman told reporters the industrial action did not cause any delays.

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