NOTHING NEW UNDER THE SUN (ALMOST)
24th August, 1989 : Australia’s air transport system was all but shut down today as the nation’s 1640 domestic pilots resigned en masse in a dispute over a salary package. Despite plans by the Federal Government to use RAAF aircraft and international airlines to shift domestic passengers, the airlines were able to move only 2,000 of 30,000 intending passengers. The pilots resigned after Ansett, Australian Airlines, East-West Airlines and IPEC started sacking individual pilots and issued writs seeking damages for breach of contract against 50 individual pilots. Until today the pilots had been flying only between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. in support of their claim for 29.47 per cent wage increase, which the Government says is beyond the national wage fixing guidelines. The Government is planning to use RAAF Hercules and Boeing aircraft to carry civilian passengers, and refuel the aircraft at air force bases to beat a refuelling ban imposed by the transport workers. The Prime Minister, Mr Hawke, who says the pilots have an inflated idea of their worth and skills, today raised the possibility of recruiting pilots overseas.
[ If memory serves me, none of the above airlines exists today. The unions won. ]