December 18, 2011 / 11:23 PM / in 6 years

Qantas agrees pay deal with engineers' union

SYDNEY (Reuters) - Australia’s Qantas Airways (QAN.AX) has agreed a pay deal with its engineers, one of three unions that the airline has had a stand off with for more than a year, a union representative said.

The deal, which gives engineers a 3 percent pay rise over three years, would be presented to the country’s labour umpire later on Monday, the secretary of the engineers union, Steve Purvinas, said.

“The deal secures jobs onshore,” he said. “I hope the other two unions follow us.”

Disputes with unions representing baggage handlers, caterers and pilots are expected to go into arbitration next year.

The stand-off with the unions led to Qantas management grounding the entire fleet in October in an attempt to force a resolution. The strikes and grounding cost Qantas A$194 million ($193.82 million) and forced the labour umpire to intervene.

Under the deal with the engineers, a new licence category has been brought in for engineers and the union has backed away from a demand for a hangar to be built to allow heavy maintenance on Airbus A380 double-decker jumbos in Australia, instead of in Asia.

Qantas could not immediately be reached for comment.

Qantas shares were 0.3 percent lower in early trade compared to a 1.2 percent fall by the broader market .

Reporting by Narayanan Somasundaram; Editing by Ed Davies

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