Melbourne/Sydney: Australia's Qantas Airways resumed operations on Monday after grounding its entire fleet over the weekend. The bold tactic forced the government to intervene in a labour dispute which has been bleeding the airline for long.
It also earned Qantas CEO Alan Joyce the moniker, "kamikaze" from a newspaper. His action was in effect a counter strike against three airline unions which have been warring with the management over pay, working conditions and a plan to base more operations in Asia.
Joyce's drastic step to ground all flights on Saturday left around 70,000 passengers stranded around the globe, including seventeen heads of state, who had arrived in Australia to attend the Commonwealth Heads of Government meet, and forced the government and its labour-market regulator to seek an immediate end to the warring between the airline and unions.
At the government's behest, Australia's labour tribunal stepped in and ordered Qantas to resume flights and also banned trade unions from staging any more strikes.
Qantas says it has lost almost A$70 million since September from industrial action resorted to by the unions.
"That was the only way we could bring that to a head," Joyce told reporters on Monday. Joyce has said the future of the 90-year-old airline was at stake.