20 Nov '11, 4am

Qantas dispute may drag

SYDNEY: The deadline on talks to resolve Qantas's bitter dispute with unions, which culminated in last month's extraordinary shutdown of the airline, expires Monday but experts say a final deal could be months away. Australia's industrial arbiter Fair Work Australia gave the "Flying Kangaroo" and three angry employee unions 21 days to negotiate to end their battle over wages and conditions after the airline's unprecedented grounding. Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce, who stranded tens of thousands of passengers worldwide in a move the government said threatened the national economy, has said he is optimistic of a resolution by the deadline. "I continue to be hopeful that we can reach agreement," he said last week, adding that discussions with the three unions -- representing pilots, engineers and ground staff such as baggage handlers -- were confidential. But industrial r...

Full article: http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stories/afp_asiapacific_bu...

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