30 Oct '11, 9am

Qantas passengers pin hopes on mediator

SYDNEY: About 70,000 stranded passengers were Sunday desperately hoping Australia's workplace regulator would end the stunning grounding of Qantas Airways' entire fleet over a bitter industrial row. The national carrier announced its shock decision to lock out union staff and cancel all flights indefinitely on Saturday, a move that left the country reeling and passengers scrambling for alternatives. The travellers' fate lies in the hands of the regulator Fair Work Australia, which reconvened an emergency three-man panel Sunday. It could potentially suspend strike action for as long as 120 days so talks can take place, or order a permanent termination to the industrial dispute and so permit Qantas to take to the skies again. After Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard took the rare step of ordering in the workplace mediator, a government lawyer told the tribunal the groun...

Full article: http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stories/afp_asiapacific/vi...

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