First Published on www.tvnz.co.nz
As unions bunkered down for a process of arbitration with Qantas, the airline faced a new PR disaster over a Twitter campaign.
As part of its foray into social media marketing, Qantas put out an invitation on its Twitter feed for members of the public to sing its praises.
"Tell us what is your dream luxury inflight experience? (Be creative!) Answer must include the hashtag QantasLuxury," it tweeted.
Top tweets were promised a gift pack including a pair of Qantas pyjamas and "luxury amenity kit".
But less than a month after grounding its entire fleet, and not even 24 hours after talks with its unions fell in a heap, it looked like it would take more than PJs and a toiletries bag to win back the public.
The competition was quickly flooded with a stream of angry and sarcastic comments, and people simply taking the opportunity to have a joke at the airline's expense.
"What's odder, the idiotic timing or the imbecilic prize?" asked one tweeter.
"Alan Joyce now seeking an injunction to ground twitter due to QantasLuxury fiasco," tweeted another.
Yet another wag said, "qantasluxury means sipping champagne on your corporate jet while grounding the entire airline, country, customers & staff."
Other tweets, such as "qantasluxury is still calling Australia 51% home" and "Qantasluxury is what we used to get before crooks like Alan Joyce started running our national airline", summed up the general attitude.
"We run a number of competitions and this one has certainly not garnered the response that we were expecting," a Qantas spokeswoman admitted.
Meanwhile Fair Work Australia (FWA) president Justice Geoffrey Giudice has a number of decisions to make before arbitration begins.
He must first pick which members will make up the full bench to hear the arbitration.
This bench could comprise FWA vice presidents, senior vice presidents, deputy presidents or commissioners.
It is unlikely Justice Giudice will sit on the panel, as he has announced he is due to retire at the end of February.
Another big decision is whether there will be just one set of hearings, or whether the process must be split into three for each union dispute.
The hearings, when they do start, will most likely be held in either Melbourne or Sydney, with video links between the two.
The hearings will almost certainly be held in public, but may go into private conference when specific agreements need to be hammered out between the parties.
Although FWA's job is to impose binding arbitration, it will hope to preside over as much voluntary agreement between the two parties as possible.
A spokesman for the Australian and International Pilots Association (AIPA) told AAP the association was expecting the process to begin in February.
"We haven't actually had a date for arbitration from Fair Work Australia," he said.
"But we're tipping it won't start until well into next year, maybe February."
The Transport Workers Union (TWU) has said it is "reluctantly" preparing for compulsory arbitration, which it expects to drag on for months.