The potential strike threatens to impact baggage handling for up to 20 airlines, including Qantas, Singapore Airlines, Etihad and Air Canada.
The Transport Workers Union said it will apply to the Fair Work Commission today to hold a vote on strike action as it negotiates with the country’s largest baggage handling company, Dnata, over a new workplace agreement.
The application is the first move towards receiving legal protection to industrial action.
Dnata is owned by the Dubai-based airline Emirates,
If that strike action does go ahead, it could affect thousands of travellers in Melbourne, Brisbane and Sydney.
The threat of industrial action comes after passengers endured cancelled flights, long queues and delayed baggage retrieval over past weeks.
Yesterday at Sydney airport there were long queues snaking outside the terminal as fog blanketing the city added to flight delays.
Meanwhile, new research shows that Australian airports are among the worst in the world when it comes to on-time performance.
From 665 airports ranked on their on-time results by aviation research company OAG, Melbourne came in at number 631 and Sydney at 597.
In other news, a Queensland government $200 million incentive fund to attract global airlines to the state has had success.
Several new flights have been announced, including Brisbane to San Francisco, with United Airlines, the world’s second biggest carrier.
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The new flight will begin by late October.