The Australian ground handling service provider, dnata, is making contingency plans for a potential strike of their staff. Coupled with the already existing COVID-related backlogs at its cargo terminal at the Melbourne International Airport, the strike is threatening cargo movement at Australian airports. Dnata provides a range of ground handling services for Cebu Pacific Airlines in Melbourne. Dnata is a part of the Emirates Group.
According to reports, the strike, expected on 12th September will most likely affect movement of cargo shipments in Brisbane and Sydney. The ground handling agent has secured replacement workers in Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth, and doesn’t anticipate any slowdowns in those locations in the event of a strike, said the management.
The message was communicated to the Freight Trade Alliance, which represents logistics service providers and international shippers. The Fair Work Commission is Australia’s tribunal that helps to resolve work-related issues.
“Despite our best efforts to build a contingency team in Sydney and Brisbane, we do anticipate some disruption to operations should an agreement with our employees not be achieved in the Fair Work Commission on Wednesday Sept. 7,” dnata said.
As far as the COVID related backlogs are concerned, the shipments make up of small pieces rather than containerised cargo. The situation is expected to ease Wednesday as dnata implements a ban on handling passenger aircraft with cargo loaded in the cabin.
The tactic, which gained popularity during the pandemic as a way to utilise more space in aircraft temporarily repurposed for dedicated cargo service, is much more labor-intensive because individual boxes must be hand-carried through narrow passenger doors and stacked on seats or the floor.