Aviation

Jetstar ground crew to strike over unfair pay and safety concerns, says union boss

The Jetstar strikes saga continues, with ground crew and baggage handlers announcing they will walk off the job on Friday.

According to the Transport Workers Union (TWU), over 250 workers will hold a two-hour work stoppage at Sydney, Melbourne, Avalon, Brisbane, Cairns and Adelaide airports.

The strikes will run as follows:

  • Sydney: 5.30am to 7.30am and 5.30pm to 7.30pm
  • Melbourne: 9.30am to 11.30am and 4pm to 6pm
  • Avalon: 8.30am to 10.30am and 6.30pm to 8.30pm
  • Brisbane: 6am to 8am and 6pm to 8pm
  • Cairns: 5.30am to 7.30am and 1.30pm to 3.30pm
  • Adelaide: 6am to 8am and 6pm to 8pm

It is not yet known if the strikes will cause delays or cancellations.

Last Friday, Jetstar baggage handlers and ground crew voted 94 per cent to take protected industrial action after the company rejected the union’s demands. Under protected action rules, workers must give the company three working days notice before action begins.

“Australia has an underemployment problem that is hurting the economy and Jetstar is among the companies causing the problem,” said TWU National Secretary Michael Kaine.

“Ground crew are given as few as 20 hours guaranteed a week with rates so low that their families are forced to struggle. They are taking a united stand against poverty wages.”

The protected industrial action ballot was held after negotiations broke down, with the company rejecting demands, including more rest breaks, a guaranteed 12-hour break between shifts, commitment to engaging Jetstar employees rather than untrained casual staff, guaranteed 30 hours a week, annual wage increases of 4 per cent, recognition of workers having to take on more responsibilities and better consultation with workers.

“Working conditions at Jetstar are tough with the company cutting the number of crew to the point that safety is a problem. Crew want more rest breaks and more trained staff so they can do their jobs without risking injury,” Kaine said.

The strike comes as The Australian Federation of Pilots (AFAP) confirmed on Friday that pilots had voted in favour of partaking in protected industrial action including a work stoppage of up to 24 hours.

AFAP said in a statement it would begin with four-hour work stoppages next Saturday and Sunday as they continue to negotiate with the airline over wages and conditions. However, the union said no action would be taken from Christmas to the New Year as previously speculated.

Travel Weekly has contacted Jetstar for comment.

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