Airline passengers face more chaos at airports with baggage handlers now threatening strike action.
Workers at Emirates-owned Dnata will ask the Fair Work Commission to give them the green light to vote on industrial action.
Dnata handles baggage for 20 international airlines including Qantas, Singapore Airlines, Etihad and Air Canada at airports in Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne.
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The action is not expected to impact Qantas’ domestic services.
The Transport Workers Union has accused the company of trying to slash workers’ pay while warning of safety risks because of staff shortages.
“Ground crew have warned Dnata that chronic understaffing, airport chaos and safety incidents will only get worse if the company doesn’t offer secure jobs at higher rates to attract and retain workers,” the TWU said.
Any industrial action has the potential to impact thousands more airline passengers who have spent weeks dealing with long delays and queues at airports across the country.
Thousands of people were forced to wait outside Sydney Airport on Monday due to an issue at the security gate.
It comes as Australian airports are ranked among the worst in the world when it comes to delays and cancellations.
According to aviation analytics firm OAG, Sydney came in at 597th on the list of 665 airports ranked, while Melbourne came in at 631st.