Jetstar has warned it will be cancelling flights next week to minimise disruption during planned strikes.
The Transport Workers Union (TWU) has notified Jetstar it plans to take further industrial action on Wednesday 19 February, including rolling two-hour work stoppages over 24 hours.
250 Jetstar ground crew will be participating in the strike which will take place at Sydney, Melbourne, Avalon, Brisbane, Cairns and Adelaide airports.
According to the TWU, Jetstar workers are the lowest paid in the Qantas Group with many guaranteed no more than 20 hours work per week.
Jetstar has rejected the union’s claims for a guaranteed minimum 30 hours a week, stable rosters that don’t constantly change, a commitment to engage Jetstar employees rather than hire workers and appropriate pay rates for workers continually performing higher duties.
Jetstar has been negotiating with the union for more than a year and has offered a three per cent annual pay increase and a year’s worth of back pay for each employee.
Jetstar Group CEO Gareth Evans said in a statement that the union’s decision to disrupt air travel at a time when local tourism and the economy is hurting is unforgivable.
“The union keeps ignoring the fact that no part of Jetstar or the Qantas Group will do a wage deal more than three per cent,” he said.
“We will be doing everything possible to get our customers on their way with as little disruption as possible.”
According to the airline’s travel alerts page, it will be proactively cancelling some flights and has offered passengers travelling that day the option to cancel and receive a full refund or move their flight.
TWU national secretary Michael Kaine said Jetstar workers are united and determined to fight for their jobs and their families’ futures.
“Jetstar workers do not take this decision lightly and we apologise to members of the public who will be unable to fly on Wednesday,” he said.
“But these workers are in the fight of their lives for a decent standard of living, to be able to put food on the table and to ensure they and their kids have a future. At the moment that future is bleak.
“The company is forcing underemployment onto these workers, making them desperate for more hours to boost their low incomes.
“The problem at Jetstar is happening right across the fragmented aviation industry. Multiple airlines and aviation companies are in a race to the bottom, financially squeezing their workforces to make a profit. It means families are suffering. It means safety and security are being compromised at the airports every day.”
Jetstar workers went on strike twice in December and then announced a moratorium to allow people to get home for Christmas and for the bushfire relief in January.
Workers met management twice in recent weeks to discuss their claims but all were rejected. Jetstar has said it will force workers to vote on the deal they have rejected. In December, 94 per cent of Jetstar workers voted to take protected industrial action.