Aviation ground handlers call off strike after securing new deal

Ground handling workers at Emirates-owned Dnata have called off a protected strike action that would have disrupted three major Australian airports after securing a pay increase and overtime entitlements.

After more than two years of negotiations, Dnata agreed to deliver a 17 per cent pay increase to all Australian employees over a four-year period, protect overtime entitlements as well as increase opportunities for part-time employees to convert to full-time roles and casuals to permanent positions.

Dnata employees will receive an immediate 12.6 per cent increase with a further 4.6 per cent in 2023. Credit:Kate Geraghty

Dnata services 30 airlines including Ethiad and Qantas at six airports across Australia with a team of 17,000 employees. The strike action on Monday would have caused significant disruption to international flights to and from Sydney, Brisbane and Adelaide airports.

The company will backpay employees with an immediate increase of 12.6 per cent with a further 4.6 per cent in 2023.

Transport Workers Union national secretary Michael Kaine said the deal showed the power of uniting workers but “it shouldn’t be so hard for workers to achieve pay increases above bare minimums and job security.”

“After more than two years of turmoil for Dnata workers denied JobKeeper, they’re thrilled to have locked in greater financial security and the possibility of converting casual and part-time roles to secure, full-time positions. It’s a relief for hardworking families that last resort strike action is no longer necessary,” Kaine continued.

Dnata Australia chief Burt Sigsworth said he was pleased to have reached an agreement and thanked each employee for their “hard work, loyalty and relentless commitment to Dnata and our customers in these challenging times.”

Ground handlers at Menzies, another company contracted to a number of airlines including both Virgin Australia and Qantas, are also expected to come to an agreement with Kuwait-based owner Agility later on Thursday.

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