The Transport Workers Union (TWU) has accused Qantas of ‘sending out thugs’ in the middle of the night to intimidate staff involved in nationwide strike action.
The national secretary of the TWU, Tony Sheldon, said Qantas representatives visited employees’ homes at midnight on Monday to deliver letters condemning the action.
‘We want to reach an agreement but sending thugs around to employees’ … homes at midnight is not required by law, it’s only required if you want to intimidate and stand over your own workforce and their families,’ Mr Sheldon told reporters in Sydney on Tuesday.
He called for the Fair Work Ombudsman to look into the matter.
‘The Fair Work Ombudsman needs to investigate families having their doors bashed on at 12 o’clock at night,’ he said.
Mr Sheldon said he was aware of 12 cases where this had occurred.
He said the letter informed employees preparing for partial work bans that they would not be entitled to any payment during that period and that the airline refused to accept any work done by them until they were prepared to perform all normal duties.
Mr Sheldon also accused Qantas of escalating disruption to flights by locking out staff prior to the four-hour work stoppage period.
‘One thing is quite clear and that’s that the company is determined to have a fight with its workforce – it’s determined … to extend the strike,’ he said.
About 3700 baggage handlers, caterers and other ground staff stopped work for four hours across Australia’s airports on Tuesday.
Another 200 staff responsible for signing off on fuel, supplying aircraft with food and other higher duties, took part in a partial work ban on Tuesday.
Mr Sheldon said the union would continue negotiations with Qantas over the coming days and weeks.
However, if a settlement wasn’t reached he would be recommend further industrial action which could include longer strikes.