Simple Flying - Andrew Curran

Unhappy Australian ground handlers employed by Dnata and used by 20 airlines have applied to vote on industrial action, including strikes.

Australian ground workers employed by Emirates-owned Dnata are applying to the courts today for permission to take industrial action, including strike action, over a workplace pay and conditions dispute. Dnata provides ground handling services to around 20 international airlines flying into Australia. With Australia's big airports already chronically understaffed and struggling to meet everyday operational requirements, the prospects of strike action has the industry on edge.

Supported by the Transport Workers' Union, Dnata ground handlers are applying to Australia's Fair Work Commission on Tuesday for permission to hold a vote on strike action. At issue is an alleged attempt by Dnata to push through an agreement that gives pay cuts to experienced workers and below award minimum conditions.

The Fair Work hearing coincides with the leaking of a memo from Dnata to its Australian employees that tells them to "politely" resist any "pressure from airline reps" to work faster. The memo also tries to ban the use of certain non-offensive colloquialisms in the workplace, including the commonly used term "under the pump," - which means to work hard.

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