Aviation

Jetstar slams union demands as “unsustainable” as it prepares for more strikes

Ali Coulton

Ali Coulton

Jetstar has labelled wage claims from unions “unsustainable and “inconsistent”, as the airline cuts 10 per cent of its January flights to minimise disruptions.

“Due to the potential for ongoing action by the AFAP in particular, Jetstar is proactively adjusting its schedule for the rest of January by reducing domestic capacity by about 10 per cent,” the airline said in a statement.

“Doing this well in advance will significantly reduce disruption in what is the airline’s busiest month of the year, compared to the three to five working days notice the union is required to give of any industrial action.

“Customers already booked on these flights will be contacted in coming days to be offered alternatives, including full refunds.”

Jetstar also confirmed it is expecting the disruption and cancellations to cost the airline between $20 and $25 million.

Almost 100 Jetstar flights were cancelled over the weekend as pilots walked off the job and at least 30 were cancelled on Friday as ground crew and baggage handlers engaged in strikes across the country.

“Industrial action doesn’t change the fact the wage claims being made by the TWU and AFAP are unsustainable,” Gareth Evans, Jetstar’s CEO said.

“In the case of the pilots, the union is asking for what amounts to a 15 per cent wage increase in the first year in a group where captains earn more than $300,000 a year.

“For some groups, their salaries would increase by $60,000. We can’t agree to that.

“The TWU’s claims equate to a 12 per cent increase in costs for Jetstar ground crew who earn around $70,000 per year on a part-time basis and around $90,000 per year on a full-time basis. This is despite the same union agreeing to a three per cent wages deal in other parts of the Qantas Group.

“There’s no doubt that industrial action is expensive and frustrating, but we have to hold the line on costs or it threatens the long term sustainability of our business. We apologise to the customers whose plans have been caught up in what the unions are doing.”

The Transport Workers Union (TWU) has confirmed baggage handlers and ramp workers for the low-cost airline will take industrial action on Thursday 19 December because the airline continues to “refuse to negotiate on workers’ modest demands”.

The TWU is seeking more rest breaks, a guaranteed 12-hour break between shifts, guaranteed 30 hours of work a week and an annual wage increase of 4 per cent per year, despite the airline claiming the union is seeking a 12 per cent increase.

All branches of the TWU have written to Jetstar urging the company to expand investigations into safety at all airports after Safe Work NSW issued a notice over the risk to workers of “serious injury”.

“Again we apologise to the travelling public for the disruption and we want to emphasis that this is the only course that Jetstar has left workers to take. Jetstar workers are on forced part-time hours and poverty wage,” Michael Kaine, the TWU national secretary said.

“They struggle to support their families and regularly can’t pay their bills.”

“We are also appalled that Jetstar has failed to adequately address the serious concerns the NSW safety regulator has with the airline. Malfunctioning equipment and deliberate understaffing are putting workers at serious risk of injury and all the company can do is deny it.

“We are demanding that Jetstar comply with all workplace, health and safety requirements and review its operations across the country to assess the risk to workers.

“There is simply too much at stake here: when workers are at risk, so are passengers,”

The Thursday strikes are scheduled as follows:

Sydney: 10am-12pm; 5.30pm-6.30pm; and 6.30pm-7.30pm.

Melbourne: 9.30am-11.30am; 4pm-5pm; and 5pm-6pm

Brisbane: 6am-8am; 6pm-7pm; and 7pm-8pm.

Adelaide: 6am-8am; 6pm-7pm; and 7pm-8pm.

Cairns: 5.30am-7.30am; 1.30pm-2.30pm; and 2.30pm-3.30pm

Avalon: 8am-10am; 6.30pm-7.30pm, and 7.30pm-8.30pm.

Travel Weekly has reached out to the Australian Federation of Pilots (AFAP) for comment.

SEE WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING

Leave a Reply

Aviation

Qantas boss says vaccines will open up international travel before “bubbles” eventuate

To be fair, Aussies were expecting to be able to travel to New Zealand by now but the closest we can get is watching Flight of the Conchords while sipping a pinot noir from the Marlborough region.

Share

CommentComments

Destinations

BHA quashes fears of Bali booze ban

Tell your clients not to throw out their Bintan singlets just yet; it looks like they’ll still be able to enjoy a frosty one in Bali after all. Well, once the global pandemic has settled down a bit, at least.

Share

CommentComments

Wholesalers

Ormina Tours releases 2022 program with free cancellation offer

Writing this story made Travel Weekly’s editor thirsty for a wine or few, so much so that he’s decided to work the rest of the day from the pub.

Share

CommentComments

Destinations

Giant snorkeler invades Sydney Harbour in Cairns activation

Don’t worry, giants aren’t invading the city; its just Tourism Tropical North Queensland’s latest bid to inspire Aussies to get their butts to Cairns.

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

Steaks on a plane: TikTok prankster appears to cook steak on aircraft toilet

How does one cook a steak using an airline toilet? Well, you’re just going to have to click on the article and find out, aren’t you?

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

Joyce “optimistic” about recovery as Qantas renews trade partnerships

The national carrier revealed it has signed off on new multi-year agreements with 10 of the top 12 agencies, so if your boss was raging this morning, assume you work for one of the two that missed out.

Share

CommentComments

Tourism

Australia responds to the UK’s emergency approval of Pfizer vaccine

While the UK might be getting the jab as early as next week, the Australian government is holding fast to its original roll-out schedule.

Share

CommentComments

Destinations

Thailand to stay closed until at least March next year

The country’s Tourism Minister has thrown aside any hope for a comeback during the 2020-2021 peak season. Not that Aussie travellers are under the illusion of travelling overseas during the summer anyway.

Share

CommentComments

Hotels

IHG opens two Sydney hotels in one day

The hotel giant’s regional VP of development has been run off his feet lately by all the property openings, so much so that the soles of his shoes are now in need of repair.

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

Virgin launches 12-hour school holiday sales blitz with more than 60,000 cheap fares

The airline has been on an absolute tear since coming out of administration, having increased its flights, gifted free thongs and now offering heaps of cheap fares.

Share

CommentComments

Cruise

Royal Caribbean Group extends local cruise pause yet again

We haven’t been counting, but we’re pretty sure this is the 1,543,044th time we have reported on an extension of the cruise pause.

Share

CommentComments

Travel Agents

South Australia’s COVID-19 scare scores TravelManagers agent client referrals

South Australia’s recent COVID scare was deja vu for many agents. And, for TravelManagers’ Emma Ross, her hard work has paid off in spades.

Share

CommentComments