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Strike Disrupts Tasmanian Travel

January 16, 2000

MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) _ A strike on the island state of Tasmania by baggage handlers of Australia’s second-largest airline has affected travel plans for up to 5,000 people, union and airline officials said Sunday.

Services to and from the state on Ansett Ltd., Australia’s second-largest domestic airline, and its regional subsidiary Kendell Airlines have been brought to a standstill by the strike, which began on midnight on Friday and was prompted by job-shedding plans.

Among passengers affected are athletes who took part in last week’s swimming world cup shortcourse championships in the state capital of Hobart.

An Ansett spokeswoman said the airline was trying to arrange other means of travel for stranded passengers, including finding seats on ferries to the mainland and connecting flights. She spoke on condition her name not be used.

She said Ansett hoped the dispute would be mediated by the Australian Industrial Relations Commission.

Transport Workers’ Union official John Allan said the work stoppage would continue indefinitely.

Allan said the union was trying to protect workers’ jobs. Ansett intends to lay off 40 workers when it contracts out baggage handling services in Tasmania.

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